Of the 976,305 people
who identified themselves as Aboriginal in the 2001 Census,
about 5%, or 45,070, reported that they were Inuit.
a 12% increase from 40,220 five years earlier. In contrast,
the total non-Aboriginal population grew only 3.4% between
1996 and 2001.
this growth is due to demographic factors higher fertility
rates and increasing life expectancy. Although the Inuit birth
rate has declined in recent years, it is still twice as high
as the overall non-Aboriginal birth rate.
Inuit accounted for 85% of Nunavut's population, and less
than 1% of Quebec's. They represented about 11% of the population
of the Northwest Territories.
According to the 2001 census of Statistics Canada, there are
1,380 Inuit people living in Ontario, representing 3.1% of
the total Inuit population
A great majority of anthropologists believe the Inuit people
immigrated from Asia and arrived via a narrow corridor of
land across what is now the Bering Strait to Alaska and from
there, some continued on towards the Yukon and Northwest Territories
of Canada. Migration occurred in successive waves over thousands
Between 18000 and 14000 BC, the glaciers of the last ice age
began to melt and the land bridge across the Bering Strait
was covered by the rising sea
Approximately 4000 BC, the early Palaeoeskimo (meaning "prehistoric
Eskimo") expanded southward into Labrador from the high Arctic,
eventually disappearing around 2000 BC
The early palaeskimo introduced arctic technology and culture
to the Labrador coast and Newfoundland.
A second wave of Arctic-adapted people expanded southwards
into Labrador around 2400 BC. They were named the Dorset Eskimo
after Cape Dorset in Baffin Island where their artifacts were
first found. They were more intensely marine-oriented than
the early Palaeoeskimo. For unknown reasons, the Dorset Eskimo
disappeared from the Island of Newfoundland around 1000 BC.
About A.D. 1400, a third wave of arctic people arrived in
northern Labrador These were the Thule Eskimo, an Alaskan
people who populated the entire Canadian Arctic.
Pattern of Settlement
The habitation area of the Inuit people extends over four
countries: USA, Canada, Russian Federation and Greenland.
Settlement patterns varied according to the location of certain
groups, the time of the year and subsistence opportunities
in a given area
In all Inuit areas an annual cycle took place in which groups
spent the winter together in a larger settlement and then
dispersed into smaller, family-sized bands during the summer.
Traditional Inuit subsistence patterns were closely intertwined
with the annual changing of seasons, the important feature
being the appearance and disappearance of solid ice on the
During the winter, villages of igloos (houses built from packed
snow) were constructed on the firm ocean ice of the Arctic
where the Inuit people took part in seal hunting through holes
in the ice
During the summer, when the sea was free of ice, the Inuit
people would leave their permanent communities by open boat
and lived in animal-skin tents at favorite camping spots for
seal hunting, fishing and collecting birds, eggs and plants
Inuit people have a wider geographical range than any other
aboriginal people and are the most sparsely distributed people
Live on the eastern and western coasts of southern Greenland.
Known as Greenlanders or Kalaallitt.
Occupy the coast from a point opposite Newfoundland to Hudson
Bay with a few settlements on southern Baffin Island
Includes peoples in far northern Greenland and in Canada (Baffin
Island and western Hudson Bay)
Banks Island Inuit:
Live on Banks Island, Victoria Island and other large islands
off the central Arctic coast
Western Arctic Inuit or Inuvialut:
Groups who live along the western Arctic coast of Canada:
Alaskan Inuit, Alaskan Yuit, Siberian Yuit
Facts about Nunavut
The translation of Nunavut is "Our land" in Inuktitut.
In April, 1999, the territory of Nunavut officially came into
existence in Canada. Formerly part of the Northwest Territories,
Nunavut is a result of a comprehensive settling of Inuit land
claims by the federal government. The agreement, signed into
law in 1993, was the largest land claims settlement agreement
in Canada. The capital of the territory is Iqaluit. The territory
comprises about two million square kilometres, one-fifth of
Canada, which is twice the size of Ontario and spans three
About 25,000. Roughly 85 percent Inuit. About 12,200 registered
Per capita income about $11,000 a year. Unemployment rate
22 per cent. Welfare supports one-third of residents.
More than 90 percent of $600-million budget will come from
19 seats. Non-party system. Members run as Independents, choose
premier and cabinet from among themselves and govern by consensus.
for more information.
Significant Dates in Canada
In 1977, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference was held in Barrow,
Alaska and officially adopted the name "Inuit"- meaning "the
people" as a replacement for the name "Eskimo"- meaning "eaters
of raw meat"
Inuit Tapirisat of Canada
(ITC) began the study of Inuit land use and occupancy. Study
formed geographical basis of Nunavut Territory.
ITC proposed creation
of a Nunavut Territory as part of a comprehensive settlement
of Inuit land claims in Northwestern Territories
Annual General Meeting Delegates
unanimously passed resolution calling for the creation of
Tungavik Federation of Nunavut
(TFN) and representative of Federal and Territorial governments
signed a land claims agreement-in-principle
TFN and government representatives
sign the Nunavut Political Accord Which set the creation of
Nunavut as of April 1, 1999
Inuit of Nunavut ratify Nunavut
Land Claims Agreement in Nunavut-wide vote
Canadian Government and
representatives for Inuit of Nunavut signed the Nunavut act
in Kugluktuk (Coppermine), Northwest Territories
Amendments to Nunavut Act
was adopted my Parliament and receive Royal Assent
First election for Government
Nunavut Territory and government came into existence
Premier of Nunavut|
The Canadian Press profiled
Okalik in 1999 and flatteringly called him a "boozer." Language
choices aside, there is good biographical information available
on this Canoe.ca
Clare Evelyn Clark
The first President of Indian-Eskimo
Association of Canada.
Religion was handed down from Father to son. Because the Inuit
people had no written from of communication, religion was
taught to them by their ancestors through series of stories.
As result, religious history was not formally documented.
Summation of Beliefs and
Traditional Inuit religious philosophy centres around the
powers of nature, animate and inanimate, on sea and on land.
Human beings are said to have several souls or spiritual substances.
Some Inuit people believe in two souls, one of which remains
near the dead body until it can enter that of a little child,
while the other goes to one of several soul lands, either
above or below the earth. The central religious figure is
the Shaman. Some of the Shaman's functions is to divine the
causes of poor hunting (which was often believed to be caused
by a group member breaking food or hunting taboos), to diagnose
and treat sickness and to serve as the general source of advice
in coping with crisis.
There are several related linguistic groups for the Arctic
peoples including Kalaallit in Greenland, Inuvialuit in Canada
and Inupiat, Yupiget, Yuplit and Alutiit in Alaska.
The eastern branch, generally called Inupiaq in Alaska, but
also Inuktitut in Canada and Kalaallisut in Greenland, stretches
from eastern Alaska across Canada and through into southern
It consists of many dialects, each understandable to speakers
of neighboring dialects.
Western branch called Yupik includes three distinct languages:
Central Alaskan Yupik and Pacific Gulf Yupik in Alaska and
Siberian Yupik in Alaska and Canada, each with several dialects.
The Inupiaq dialects have more than 20,000 speakers in Alaska
Inuktitut of eastern Canada:
14,000 speakers of 17,500 population
Inuktitut of western Canada:
4,000 speakers of 7,500 population
The first book in Inupiaq was published in 1742
Researched by Kelly Farnsworth