For many centuries, outsiders called INUIT “Eskimos.”
INUIT no longer find this term acceptable. They prefer the name by which they have always known themselves – INUIT, which means “the people” in their own language, INUKTITUT.
INUIT inhabit vast areas of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, the coast of northern Labrador and about 25 percent of Northern Québec. Traditionally, they have lived above the treeline in the area bordered by Alaska in the west, the Labrador coast in the east, the southern tip of Hudson Bay in the south and the High Arctic Islands in the north.
About 55,700 INUIT live in 53 communities across the North. The INUIT population has grown rapidly over the past few decades. According to Statistics Canada, if present trends continue, there will be about 84,600 INUIT in the North by 2016.
INUIT are one of the three Aboriginal peoples in Canada, as defined by the Canadian Constitution. The other two Aboriginal peoples are First Nations and Métis people.
INUIT origins in Canada date back at least 4,000 years. Their culture is deeply rooted in the vast land they inhabit. For thousands of years, INUIT closely observed the climate, landscapes, seascapes and ecological systems of their vast homeland. Through this intimate knowledge of the land and its life forms, INUIT developed skills and technology uniquely adapted to one of the harshest and most demanding environments on earth.
INUIT treat human beings, the land, animals and plants with equal respect. Today, they continue to try to maintain this harmonious relationship. They try to use the resources of land and sea wisely to preserve them for future generations.
Traditional knowledge about INUIT history, and the land, plants and wildlife, has been passed down through the generations. The family is the centre of INUIT culture, and co-operation and sharing are basic principles in INUIT society.
I am proud to say that the INUIT are part of my country, Canada.
Mr.Linky can be found here.