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Inuit

April's 4th grade Native American Project
by

April F

on 15 January 2013

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Transcript of Inuit

Alaskan Inuits By: April F. Location/environment Housing food Culture/Arts/Tradition Other interesting information Daily Activities Inuit flag I am an Alaskan Inuit. My ancestors settled in Alaska on the north and west coasts. I live in a region called the Arctic region. My environment is harsh, cold, bare and flat. This landscape is known as the Tundra, (it is like the plains in the Arctic). The only plants that grow here are grasses and mosses, no trees. When I look around, I see snow, ice, rivers, and ocean. The oceans that are close by are the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Most villages are on the western coast. They can not grow food here, so we hunt animals and fish for food. Whale, caribou, moose, walrus, seal, fish, foul, mountain sheep, bear, hares, squirrels, and foxes are found in my Arctic region. In the summer, it is 40 degrees and only lasts for 2 to 3 months. In winter, it is 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, with a lot of snow for these other 9 months of the year. The winter months do not see much sun, the nights are long and dark. Sometimes, the sun doesn't even come up in the sky in the wintertime! I live in a small, 12'x 15' house. It has sod covered walls and a sod covered, domed roof. This was built over a shallow hole. Our houses are made of whale bones as the frame, and animal hides to spread over the frame. My Aunts and Uncles, and Grandparents are in homes very close by also. There are many other villages close by, we depend on each other to get through this harsh climate. Temporarily, snow houses are used in the winter on a hunt, BUT the well known "igloos" were used more by the canadian Inuits. Our houses have a domed shaped roof so that the snow will not collect on the top. We also use moss to insulate and keep our homes warm. Our houses hold 8 to 12 people. My family and I sleep on benches pushed against the walls, and we use logs as pillows. A separate kitchen building has a smoke hole, storage areas, and an ice cellar to keep our meats. The earliest Inuit village was Point Hope, on the northwest coast. The men in my family use bows, arrows, and harpoons to hunt for our food. We can not grow crops on this harsh land, our food is mainly the meat or fish from hunting. They also use a skin covered boat called a kayak. However, the larger Umiaks are used when hunting for whale. Umiaks were made by a larger wooden or whale bone frame with animal skin stretched over it. They also catch fish using nets. My Inuit family also used sleds & dogs for hunting. Our meat is kept frozen in an ice cellar for storage. When we eat, Dad puts the raw or frozen meat in the middle of the floor, we do not cook our meat. Every one sits around it to cut their own raw pieces off, with their own knives. Even us kids have our own flint-made blades! Whale meat, caribou, moose, reindeer, walrus, seal, fish, foul, mountain sheep, ears, hares, squirrels, and foxes are hunted. Wild herbs, roots, berries, seaweed and eggs are also gathered and eaten. We Inuit's use baskets made of grasses for gathering foods. We also melt snow for our breakfast tea. When we wake up in the morning, one person is in charge of making the fire. The kids get to sleep in. When we kids wake up (finally), the men go out to hunt for sea and land mammals. The women keep the children at home to teach us survival skills such as hunting, how to cook our own food, etc. We do not go to school, and we often help care for the babies in the family. We don't have books, stories just get passed down through songs and poems. The children are treated as special because us kids are thought to have the souls of our ancestors in us. Because of this belief, we are able to run free and do as we wish most of the time, without getting punished. After a catch on a hunt, the men hunters are the first to eat, and then their family joins in and starts to eat too. Then we give the animal spirits thanks for their food. In the summer, the Inuit spend a lot of time outdoors, and a lot of hunting is done to stock our cellars. In the winter, a lot of time is spent indoors, singing, dancing, and telling stories. Women tanned skins to wear, made clothing, cooked and cleaned. The baby Inuits get used to being carried on the inside of the mom's parka. Their diapers were made of soft caribou skin and moss. We Inuits are musical Native Americans. We play drums, sing songs, dance, tell stories, and have song contests. Games, wrestling, and story telling all bring the Inuit people together after hunts and during the long, dark, winter nights. While the men were out hunting, the women liked to throat sing (a deep throat gurgling sound), often in competitions, or even as songs to put their babies to sleep. The Inuit dance at traditional feast times in a Karigi,(a dance house). Some dances represented the hunt, or a flight of birds, or a battle with the weather. In our Inuit culture, poems and stories are often sung, and danced to. We also have song and dance festivals. The Inuit people have Potlatches, a party where the hosts give the guests the presents, to thank them for coming to the celebration. We also use ivory from walrus tusks to carve beautiful statues, but we also use stone, bone, and fur to make statues too. One hunting ritual that my family does every time they make a catch hunting, is that they save the animals bladder, and have a "bladder ceremony". We believe that the animals spirit is in this bladder. At this ceremony, we dance and sing, then throw the bladder into the ocean, giving thanks to the animal spirits. The meaning of the word Inuit is, "the people." My Inuit ancestors migrated from Asia about 4,000 years ago, using the Bering strait. Tribes are usually groups of families. In cooler months, we wear, not the regular 1 coat of clothes, but 2 layers of furry, animal hides. We have water proof jackets made of sea animal intestines, and shoes made of caribou hides that are toughened by chewing the hides. When the snow is too deep to walk on, we tie on snow shoes to make it easier walking through the snow. We also make huge, tall, tripods or arches made of whale bones, to mark our hunting paths because the land is covered by new snow everyday. We can often look to the sky and see Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. The Inuits believe these beautiful lights in the sky are our ancestors' spirits. This is our Inuit flag. The Inuits who lived more inland, would make these statues, called an "Inukshuk", out of huge boulders to mark paths and show directions (as well as using the stars for direction). Thanks for watching! We use boats to hunt. This is an ice cellar in our kitchen house. ice fishing (this was usually the job of the older women, like my grandmother) We live in Northern Alaska Our Graveyard with Whalebone markers This is what the Alaskan Tundra looks like in the summertime, with mountains more inland. This is a photo of our home made of whale bones and animal hides. This is a Snow House that my Dad and Uncles sleep in while they are hunting in the wintertime. Inside our home In the winter months, the Inuits took turns keeping a fire burning day and night! Oil, from whale blubber, and sometimes drift wood was used as the fuel for fires since there were not trees in the Tundra. BRRRR! This is my mom and my Aunt Throat Singing. This is an Inuit holding a Wind Drum, also called a "Qilaut". Our Inuit writing, and our language is called "Inupaq". Dance Festival Parka This is a whale bone trail marker. My happy Inuit family! (Dad is out hunting) Tanned Inuit hides my ancestors' spirits dancing in the sky! My dad just coming back from a hunt. Dogs are ready to come home and feast on some seal! The men of my family out on a hunt for seals.
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