Native People of the Arctic
Northern Eskimos: Inupiat-for most people, Alaska is the home of most Eskimos, who live in igloos, wear fur clothing, use dog sleds to travel while hunting polar bears and barely surviving, close to starvation.
As with any stereotype there is very little truth. The truth consists of fur clothing, sleds and dogs. For Inupiat people there were no igloos except in emergencies.
The Inupiat which means," the people" in the Inupiat language, can be divided into four groups:
1.Bering Straits people
2. Kotzebue Sound people
3. North Alaska Coast people
4. Interior North Alaska people
Food & Diet
The North Alaska Inupiat and Bering Straits Inupiats depend on large marine mammals such as: Bowhead whales, beluga whales and walrus.
Kotzebue Sound people and the Bering Straits people harvested small sea mammals, fish and migratory waterfowl. Pink salmon and chum were also available. Seals were important to all coastal groups, while caribou were important to groups in the river valleys.
Inupiat Eskimos invented many tools that made it possible to live in the Arctic. The Inupiat tool kit consisted of a variety of : stone and ivory tools, made for butchering, tanning, carving, drilling, sharpening and flaking. Fishing gear: nets, traps, spears, and hooks. The Inupiats made long funnel shaped rock and wood fences to divert caribou into lakes or a corral where hunters would kill them.
The Inupiat people did not just travel by dog but by boats like the: umiak and kayak. The Umiak is a large boat up to 15-20 feet long but some nearly reach 50 feet. It takes 6-8 seal skins stitched together and lashed to a wooden frame. Some can hold up to 15 people and carry a lot of cargo. The kayak or closed skin boat used mostly by one man, has an opening on the top for the person to enter. And made with wood and seal skin.
Special clothes were invented to severe the Arctic conditions. Men's and Women's clothing had two parts the inner and outers of pullover tops, (the outer layer was called parkas or kuspuks) outer and inner pants, socks and boots. Most of their pants and tops were made of caribou skins facing their inner clothes. Gloves were made from different types of fur.