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The Caribou Inuit
Transcript of The Caribou Inuit
Modern First Nations Issues
Homes and Housing
The Daily life of an Inuit hunter started early in the morning. Hunters would have to get up and track their prey. Hunters of Caribou especially since herds would migrate and they needed the meat to survive. Caribou hunters mainly used bows and arrows or spears so that they would not need to get to close since Caribou spook easily. Since Inuits did not go to school, days were instead spent learning to hunt from their families
The Caribou Inuit
By: Anna Felix, Ashley Phay, and Eleanor Wong :)
The Caribou Inuit received the name they have because their main source of food and survival is caribou. Unlike other Inuit tribes, they are a nomadic group who follow the caribous migration, similar to how the Plains People of Saskatchewan rely greatly on the bison for survival. In many Inuit cultures, such as the Nunamiut people, the significance of the caribou travels further than just food. The caribou has shaped the lives of these people for it is the foundation of their history and daily life.
All Year Round Food
Uses of Caribou
The Caribou pelts were used for everything from clothes to their tents. Caribou boots were highly popular since they were waterproof and had a smooth feeling to them. Caribou hide was very lightweight meaning that it was not heavy to wear and you could move faster. The tents that Inuits used in summer were also made of Caribou skin. But the uses for caribou does not stop at shelter and warmth. Caribou also provided the Caribou Inuit with food, allowing them to survive. Needless to say without the Caribou, this tribe of natives would not have survived.
>Art was a very important part of the Inuits lives.
>For art, the Inuit use whatever is already available to them for example, wood, rocks and parts of animals such as tusks or bones.
>A common form of art is carvings. Often, the Caribou Inuit will carve animals such as a polar bear or seal, people who made an impact in their community, or spirits.
>The use natural materials to carve, often from the animals they have hunted. The most commonly used materials when it comes to carving are caribou antlers, ivory, from walruses or whales, bones, and stone.
>Another common form of carving is mask carvings made from driftwood or whale bones.
>Masks were often used during ceremonial dances. They usually represent encounters with the spiritual world.
>Inukshuks are often associated as a symbol of the Inuit. Inukshuks are flat rocks stacked on top of one another into the shape similar to a person. They are most commonly known to be used as landmarks.
>In addition to using bones, and tusks for carvings from animals, the Caribou Inuit also used caribou and other animal’s hides and skins for all their clothing. This includes coats, shirts and pants.
>Caribou hide was the most commonly used hide for it provided good insulation, protected the Inuit well from the cold and it was quite light.
>Other skins that they used for clothing include dog, squirrel, marmot, fox, wolf, polar bear, bird skin, feathers, and sealskin.
>Another alternative for clothing materials are the intestines of sea mammals. They used the intestines for they are more water resistant than hides.
>Both men and women tend to wear similar clothing.
>The common winter attire includes many layers.
>The many layers are caribou or sealskin mittens, layers of pants, and parkas made of either caribou skins, hair, feathers, or other skins. In addition, they wore many layers of footwear. The first layer would be a boot stocking, followed by a pair of sealskin boot (also known as mukluks), and then finally a pair of fur slippers.
>Women wore a different parka called a Amautis. The Amautis featured a large hood, enabling women to carry babies or young children in their hood.
>Snow goggles made from caribou antlers were also a common accessory for it not only provided protection from the cold, but it also helped to prevent snow blindness.
• The Caribou Inuit had many uses for dance. Some uses included celebrating a successful hunt, welcoming travelers, or for religious ceremonies.
• Most commonly though, dancing was an activity that was often seen in ceremonies, get togethers, or just for leisure.
• A common branch of dancing in the Caribou Inuit culture is drum dancing.
• Drum dancing has been around for many centuries.
• This dance was usually performed during special ceremonies such as a birth, a wedding, a boy’s first hunt, a way to honour someone who has passed away, a way of greeting visitors, or to celebrate the changing of seasons.
• The drum used is called a qilaut (Image to the right). It is made from caribou skin for the main part of the drum and either seal or walrus skin for the handle.
• Originally, the Drum Dance was performed by only men, but eventually women performed this as well.
• The music of the Caribou Inuit is based around the drum.
• A traditional form of music is throat singing. Throat singing is a traditional competitive song in which often two people will face each other and one person will lead as the other responds. One wins when the other person is either unable to keep the pace, run out of breath, laugh or just stops.
• One round usually lasts about 1-3 minutes. Often, many rounds are played and whoever beats the most people is crowned the winner.
• The lyrics from the song are not at all lyrics. In fact, the so called lyrics can be common words, names of ancestors, or
phrases with poetic meaning. Often though, the lyrics
are mainly meaningless syllables, similar to scatting
in modern jazz music.
• Some other terms for throat singing are Katajjaq or Katedjak, Nipaquhiit, Qiarvaaqtuq, Pirkusirtuk or Piqqusiraarniq, and Lirngaaq. Names for throat singing vary throughout different regions.
• Before, katajjiq was considered more as a vocal or breathing game rather than music. Now, it is considered a traditional form of music.
• Katajjaq was often used as a pass time for men and women when they were on hunting expositions.
• The other form of music that is commonly found is the type accompanied by drums and dancing.
• In the former form of music, the drums and dancing are often accompanied by loud “Ai ya” ‘s that is commonly associated with Native music.
• As the name implies, the most common food in the Caribou Inuit’s cuisine is none other than caribou meat.
• In addition to caribou meat, the Inuit also eat seals, walruses, beluga whales, bowhead whales, narwhals, musk oxen, arctic foxes, polar bears, arctic hares, and arctic birds.
• Next to caribou, seal is also a large part of the Caribou Inuit’s diet. There are four main species of seals that the Inuit hunt but only the Ringed Seal is available all year round.
• Bowhead Whales can provide an entire community for a year from its skin, meat and blubber.
Meat is another common food for it is available almost all year round. Additional animals will be hunted in order to prepare for the winter where less food is available
Due to the climate, vegetation is quite sparse for there are no trees. But, in the summer, some plants manage to grow allowing them to add them into their diet. These plants include grasses, tubers, roots, berries, fireweed and seaweed.
In addition, a common summer food is fish. During the summer, the ice that froze the ocean should have melted away, allowing the fish to swim into these waters.
Different species of seals such as the Harp Seal, the Harbor Seal, and the Bearded Seal are parts of the Inuit's summer diet as well.
Also, the Caribou Inuit eat birds that are migrating back to their lands. They also gather eggs from nests to eat.
In the summer, the Inuit will preserve meats, birds and plants in order to prepare for the winter that will arrive shortly.
The Caribou Inuit's diet in the winter is mostly meat that has either been preserved from the warmer seasons or fresh meat from animals that are around in the winter.
Some animals that they can still hunt in the winter are seals, fish, and sharks.
So catch these sea mammals, they cut a hole in the ice's surface and spears the animal when it makes an appearance.
In addition, common winter foods include animal flesh, partly raw and frozen char and caribou, and stews with meat.
In the winter, the Caribou Inuit will eat only one meal, as opposed to the summer when they eat two meals a day. This is because in the winter, there is not as much food along with the fact that they do not need to use as much energy in the winter, for they are not participating in as many activities.
Food Preparation and Eating Habits
In the Inuit's diet, there are three main forms of eating the food: raw, frozen or boiled.
The Inuit eat 1-2 meals a day, depending on the season, but it is common for them to eat a snack every hour.
The Inuit only eat if they are hungry to prevent wasting food.
With hunted meat, nothing goes to waste. Every part of the animal is either eaten or used to oil, carvings, or to make tools. This includes almost all the internal organs.
Often when fishing, the fish is eaten almost immediately after it is caught. It is not common to eat fish cooked in the Inuit culture.
The food tends to be prepared with very little spices added in and very few mixed ingredients.
Different Foods in the Caribou Inuit Diet
Caribou Inuit Clothing
Caribou Inuit Art
In the past the Caribou Inuit lived in 2 homes: The winter and the summer home. During the summer, the Inuit built tents out of driftwood poles or whale ribs covered with animal skin, mostly caribou or sealskin. A ring of boulders around the base held down the tent skin covering. The wooden or whale ribs held the tent up. People form larger villages during the summer. In the winter everyone scatted across the land into small groups. During the winter they hunt, and they need shelter so, they built an igloo. An igloo is a dome shaped shelter made of ice. Usually took 1 hour to built an igloo depending on the size and how experienced the builder was. They had knives made out of bone, and later steel to cut out snow blocks. Larger, more permanent igloos could reach 4 meters in diameter and 3 meters in height. Soft snow was used to fill any holes, and add extra insulation. Sleeping platforms were of ice blocks, covered with fur.
Now the Caribou Inuit live in houses just like us. They have bathrooms like ours. They have fresh water but it does not always come out of the tap. Sometimes they have their water delivered and stored in a tank in the houses. The Caribou Inuit don't need to switch houses every time the seasons change.
Since the Inuit had no horses or gasoline they used dog sleds. Dog sleds were pulled by teams of huskies. Usually a team consisted of seven dogs and the lead dog is kind of like the Alpha of the pack. These dog sled teams are still used today by some Inuit instead of the modern snowmobile since they do not run on gasoline.
For the hunters of the water instead of dog sledding teams they use Kayaks. Kayaks were meant to be used by one hunter this was because Kayaks were meant to be sleek and fast so that prey would not escape and not hear them coming.
For bigger groups the umiak was the way to go. The umiak was a big boat that could hold up to ten people and used to get families from one place to another. It was usually made of driftwood or whale bones. This was the main way of transport in the summer.
Most families were groups five - six
Each family would hunt and live with ten other families
Most marriages were by choice not arranged
Men would hunt and women would cook and take care of children
They did not have a chief
Food, clothing and many things were community property
Everyone had to play a part and share their wealth
Dogs were also community property
The language of the Inuit is called Inuktitut.
Inuktitut is the main oral language of the Inuit.
Over the years, the Inuit developed different dialects among them.
Over the years, Inuit’s did not have a written language until after missionaries came.
They would pass stories and other important things through oral communication.
Stories were a vital part of their culture
The Caribou Inuits believed in Animism: all living and non-living things had a spirit. That included people, animals, inanimate objects, and forces of nature.
When a spirit died, it continued living in a different world- the spirit world.
The only people who had enough power to control the spirits were the powerful religious leaders called the Shamans or 'Angakoks'. Shamans used charms and dances as a means to communicate with the spirit world.
Shamans also wore carved masks-mostly representing animals- while performing their rituals. It was believed that masks had powers that enabled them to communicate with the spirits.
To appease the spirits the Shamans would make recommendations. They would suggest offering gifts to the spirits, moving away, and sometimes would fine the person for breaking the rules and angering the spirits.
Now the Caribou Inuits are mostly Christianity.
The Inuits are responsible for many dog breeds including:
Canadian Eskimo dog
This is because after many years of breeding and natural selection they came up with the best breeds for their needs.
Interesting Facts 2
The Movie Balto was based on a true story in which Balto led a team of sled dogs through the icy wilderness of Alaska. This was due to a Diphtheria epidemic and lack of medicine. This was known as "The Great Race Of Mercy" This is celebrated every year in the Iditarod Trail Sled Race
The Caribou Inuit settled inland, to the west of the Hudson Bay. They live in the Kivalliq region in Nunavut.
Caribou Inuit way of life was a recent phenomenon, originating after indirect (and, later, direct) involvement with European traders and whalers.
Until the late 18th century, Chipewyan natives had occupied most of the Barren Grounds area. A few decades later, the Inuit of the west(Caribou Inuit) coast of Hudson Bay began to receive firearms, which allowed them to hunt caribou more efficiently, and involvement in the fur trade gave them an incentive to move to the interior.
By the time they were studied by anthropologists they had used and relied upon European technology for over a century.
Statue of Balto in New York
Shamans (angakoks) performed many of their healing rituals in ceremonial houses called 'Kashims'.
Kashims were a gathering place where men congregate and socialize
Kashims were sometimes partially buried in the ground, and only the Shaman knew where the entrance was.
Caribou Inuit Region
A ceremony called a 'Bladder Dance' was often held after a large hunt.
The Inuit believed that the soul of the animal was found inside the bladder, so if the bladder was honored and returned to the sea, then the animal's spirit would find a new body.
Canadian Eskimo Dog
Images of Religious Artifacts