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The People Arrive.

The word "Inuit" means "the people;" for 4,000 years they have inhabited the harshest environment in which humans have ever lived - a place they call "Nunavut" meaning "Our Land"

The leaves of the giant fern rustle rus·tle  
v. rus·tled, rus·tling, rus·tles

1. To move with soft fluttering or crackling sounds.

2. To move or act energetically or with speed.

3. To forage food.
 gently in the warm breeze. A 2.5-metre-long crocodile basks in the sun. Schools of tropical fish tropical fish

Any of various small fishes of tropical origin often kept in aquariums. They are interesting for their behaviour or showiness or both. Popular varieties include the angelfish, guppy, kissing gourami, sea horse, Siamese fighting fish, and tetra.
 shimmer in the clear blue water. Another typical day in the Canadian Arctic; albeit 90 million years ago.

During the summer of 1998, Dr. John Tarduno of Rochester University dug up some fossils on Axel Heiberg Island Axel Heiberg Island (ăk`səl hī`bərg), 13,583 sq mi (35,180 sq km), in the Arctic Ocean, N Nunavut Territory, Canada, W of Ellesmere Island. . He wasn't sure what the bones were so he sent them to Dr. Don Brinkman at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology paleontology (pā'lēəntŏl`əjē) [Gr.,= study of early beings], science of the life of past geologic periods based on fossil remains.  in Drumheller, Alberta For the retired CIA agent, see .

Drumheller is a town (formerly a city) on the Red Deer River in the Badlands of east-central Alberta, Canada. It is located  km ( mi) northeast of Calgary.
. Dr. Brinkman immediately recognized them as the remains of champsosaurs. These huge crocodile-like animals didn't hang around in cold neighbourhoods. They were cold-bloodied and needed a warm climate to survive.

The finding of champsosaur fossils so far north is evidence that the Arctic was a very different place from what it is today. Dr. Tarduno published news of his discovery in the December 1998 issue of Science. In the same issue, Dr. Brian Huber of the Smithsonian Institution Smithsonian Institution, research and education center, at Washington, D.C.; founded 1846 under terms of the will of James Smithson of London, who in 1829 bequeathed his fortune to the United States to create an establishment for the "increase and diffusion of  writes that volcanic activity and vast lava flows caused the Earth's temperature to soar between 86 and 92 million years ago.

This was an ancient Greenhouse event; the kind of thing some scientists predict human activity may trigger again. Even if the burning of fossil fuels by humans doesn't cause a new Greenhouse Effect greenhouse effect: see global warming.
greenhouse effect

Warming of the Earth's surface and lower atmosphere caused by water vapour, carbon dioxide, and other trace gases in the atmosphere. Visible light from the Sun heats the Earth's surface.
 it's a certainty one will happen. This is the pattern of our planet when looked at on the scale of tens of millions of years.

Back at Drumheller, Dr. Brinkman says the polar ice caps we see today are the exception rather than the rule. Earth is usually much hotter than it is a present. But, sometime about 2.5 million years ago the Earth began to cool. Eventually, ice caps formed in the extreme north and extreme south. As the cooling trend continued, the ice caps spread.

Since this Ice Age began the caps have advanced and retreated several times. The last advance ended about 15,000 years ago when the ice reached south of what is now the Canada-U.S. border. Then, the southernmost glaciers began to melt; they are still melting and shrinking today.

About 4,000 years ago, the first hunters began to explore the Arctic coast from the west. They probably crossed the Bering Strait Bering Strait, c.55 mi (90 km) wide, between extreme NE Asia and extreme NW North America, connecting the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea. It is usually completely frozen over from October to June. The Diomede Islands are in the strait.  from Siberia and spread rapidly east to Greenland. These first people have been called Paleoeskimos - Paleo meaning of ancient times, and Eskimo meaning eaters of whalemeat. (The word Eskimo is no longer used today as it is considered something of an insult.)

These first people lived by hunting seals, caribou Caribou, town, United States
Caribou (kâr`ĭb), town (1990 pop. 9,415), Aroostook co., NE Maine, on the Aroostook River; inc. 1859.
, muskoxen, and small game. They lived in temporary settlements in tents made of hide and perhaps in snowhouses. By about 500 BC, the Dorset culture The Dorset culture preceded the Inuit culture in Arctic North America. Inuit legends mention the Tuniit (singular Tuniq) or Sivullirmiut ("First Inhabitants"), who were driven away by the Inuit.  had developed from the first inhabitants
:This article is about the video game. For Inhabitants of housing, see Residency
Inhabitants is an independently developed commercial puzzle game created by S+F Software. Details
The game is based loosely on the concepts from SameGame.

Still very much a hunting society, the Dorset people lived mainly off sea mammals such as seals, narwhals, and walrus. They lived in more permanent settlements than their ancestors, and heated their snow and turf houses with oil lamps fashioned from soapstone soapstone or steatite (stē`ətīt), metamorphic rock of which the characteristic and usually chief mineral is talc, but which also contains varying parts of chlorite, mica, tremolite, quartz, magnetite, and iron . They had implements such as needles and a wide variety of chipped stone tools. The Dorset people may even have used dog sleds and kayaks.

Finally, an even more sophisticated culture displaced the Dorset people. About 1,000 years ago, the Thule Inuit began migrating across the Arctic from Alaska. The Thule people hunted at sea, and took animals as large as bowhead whales. They lived in permanent winter villages with houses built of stone, turf, and whalebone whalebone: see whale. . They are the direct ancestors of today's Inuit.

For centuries, their lives remained unchanged; a triumph of adaptation to a very hostile environment. They were never very numerous because there simply weren't enough resources to support a large population. Each tribal group would contain between 500 and 1,000 members. The tribe would be divided into several bands which would meet, usually during the winter, to form sealing camps.

The camps would break up at the approach of spring and small groups of two to five families would travel together. These families were usually closely related and would be led by the oldest, active male. Inuit society was marked by cooperation. Members of these small family groups shared whatever resources they had; sharing is still a feature of Inuit life today.

As their population expanded, the Inuit spread eastwards along the Arctic coast. At about the time the first Inuit reached the Atlantic Ocean so did the first Europeans. Norse explorers from Scandinavia traded with the Inuit, but they found the Arctic coast too hostile an environment to settle.

Five hundred years later, the first adventurers looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 a northwest passage to the Orient arrived. In the process of searching for the illusive il·lu·sive  

il·lusive·ly adv.

 shortcut (1) In Windows, a shortcut is an icon that points to a program or data file. Shortcuts can be placed on the desktop or stored in other folders, and double clicking a shortcut is the same as double clicking the original file.  to Asia much of the Arctic was mapped. The explorers were followed by whalers Whalers may mean:
  • Whaling, for information on sailors who hunt whales
  • Hartford Whalers, a former/future hockey team
  • Plymouth Whalers, a current hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League
  • Eden Whalers, an Australian Rules Football team.
. The whalers were the first Europeans to have an impact on Inuit culture. They introduced Native hunters to the money economy. Fox furs, which the Inuit thought worthless, were valued in Europe. So they traded the furs for manufactured goods such as cloth, canvas, and guns. The whalers also brought diseases such as measles, smallpox, influenza, and tuberculosis which devastated dev·as·tate  
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
 many Inuit communities.

By the middle of the 19th century, the first mounties and missionaries had taken up residence. These were the first nonnatives to settle, and they began to have a profound effect on Inuit culture.

Until 1870, nobody to the south took much notice of what appeared to be a barren wasteland. Two hundred years earlier, King Charles II had granted a charter to the Company of Adventurers of England Trading into the Hudson's Bay. Nobody, of course, bothered to ask the Inuit if this was all right with them. Had they been asked the Inuit would probably have said go ahead. They had developed no concept of the ownership of land as the Europeans had. To the Inuit land was open to everyone and could be defined only as good places to hunt and bad places to hunt.

The Hudson's Bay Company Hudson's Bay Company, corporation chartered (1670) by Charles II of England for the purpose of trade and settlement in the Hudson Bay region of North America and for exploration toward the discovery of the Northwest Passage to Asia.  did well out of the fur trade in the vast land mass of the North-West Territory and Rupert's Land. Then, the Americans started to make noises about expansion and there was a simmering dispute among Red River colonists, the Metis Metis (mē`tĭs), in astronomy, one of the 39 known moons, or natural satellites, of Jupiter.


goddess of caution and discretion. [Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 242]

See : Prudence
, and the Hudson's Bay Company. The dispute grew into the Riel Rebellion of 1870, and Ottawa decided it was time to lay claim to the area. For

300,000 [pounds sterling], Canada bought all of the Hudson's Bay Company's real estate in the north. The Inuit were not consulted.

Canada's claim to sovereignty over the Arctic wasn't accepted by everyone. In 1898, a Norwegian expedition laid claim to part of Ellesmere Island and all of Axel Heiberg and the two Ringnes Islands. The claim was settled in Canada's favour in 1931, but Ottawa decided it was time to show the flag. Police posts were opened and government vessels were sent to patrol the region.

Apart from that, the region was pretty much ignored by the federal government. Ottawa preferred to leave missionaries to take care of the health and education of the Inuit.

It took the Second World War to wake Canada up to the significance of its Arctic possessions. At first, weather stations and air bases were built to protect North America from possible invasion by Hitler's Nazis. When that danger was removed by Hitler's defeat a new one appeared.

Throughout the Cold War (1947-89) The United States and the Soviet Union threatened to blow each other to pieces. The Soviet Union was only a bomber flight away across the North Pole, which made the Canadian Arctic the meat in a nuclear sandwich.

Defence installations sprouted like Arctic sedges in the spring. The DEW line of radar stations was supposed to give warning of a sneak attack by Soviet airplanes. The threat spurred Ottawa to make its presence felt more strongly in the Arctic. Schools, nursing stations, airports, and communication outposts were opened. The Inuit themselves were used as defenders of Canada's sovereignty, but they were still out of the loop as far as governing was concerned.

The Inuit didn't get the vote until 1960, when it was given to all Aboriginal peoples in Canada Aboriginal people in Canada are Peoples recognized in the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, sections 25 and 35, respectively as Indians, Métis, and Inuit. It also refers to self-identification of Aboriginal Peoples who live within Canada, but who have not chosen to accept the . However, the Territorial Council was still an appointed body in 1966. It wasn't until 1974 that all its members were elected. Over the last 25 years, Canada has been transferring responsibility for running programs to Native communities.

The biggest transfer of all is the creation of Nunavut - Our Land.


1. Create a timeline showing the major events in the Eastern Arctic from the arrival of the first people 4,000 years ago to today.

2. There are eight main Inuit tribal groups in Canada - the Baffin, Caribou, Copper, Iglulik, Inuvialuit, Labrador, Netsilik, and Ungava. Assign a group of students to research the location of these groups and plot them on a map of the Canadian Arctic.


The Queen Elizabeth Islands Queen Elizabeth Islands, northern part of the Arctic Archipelago, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, N Canada. Ellesmere Island (the largest), the Parry group (Melville, Bathurst, Devon, Prince Patrick, and Cornwallis islands), and the Sverdrup group (Axel Heiberg,  are a virtual desert with total annual snowfall of less than 13 cm.

In some places in the Arctic the ground is permanently frozen (permafrost permafrost, permanently frozen soil, subsoil, or other deposit, characteristic of arctic and some subarctic regions; similar conditions are also found at very high altitudes in mountain ranges. ) to a depth of as much as 1,000 metres.


They lived on the islands of Salliq (Southampton), Coats, and Walrus in the northwestern corner of Hudson Bay. The Sadlermiut Inuit were not large in number, perhaps no more than 200 people. However, they were unique. Their culture seems to have combined elements of both the Dorset and Thule societies. Archeologists puzzle over a variety of theories to explain why these people were unlike their neighbours. Some suggest they were an isolated remnant of the Dorset people who were thought to have died out completely around 1500 AD. In the fall of 1902, the whaling ship Active stopped at Southampton Island. One sailor aboard was suffering from either typhus typhus, any of a group of infectious diseases caused by microorganisms classified between bacteria and viruses, known as rickettsias. Typhus diseases are characterized by high fever and an early onset of rash and headache.  or typhoid typhoid
 or typhoid fever

Acute infectious disease resembling typhus (and distinguished from it only in the 19th century). Salmonella typhi, usually ingested in food or water, multiplies in the intestinal wall and then enters the bloodstream, causing
. Sadlermiut visited the Active and took the disease back to their village. Sometime during the winter of 1902-03, the last of the original Sadlermiut Inuit died alone.


William Baffin was chief navigator aboard the Discovery which sailed from England in 1615 to search for the Northwest Passage. They found the entrance to Hudson Bay and some land they named after their ship's navigator. They also made contact with the Inuit, and William Baffin recorded his impressions of them in his journal: "The inhabitants were poor, living chiefly on the flesh of dried seals, which they ate raw. They clothed clothe  
tr.v. clothed or clad , cloth·ing, clothes
1. To put clothes on; dress.

2. To provide clothes for.

3. To cover as if with clothing.
 themselves with skins and also made covers for their tents and boats. They dress the skins very well.

"Concerning their religion I can say little, only that they have a kind of worship or adoration of the Sun, which they will continually point to while striking their hands on their breast crying `Klyout.' They bury their dead on the side of hills, commonly on small islands, making a pile of stones over them; yet the stones are not put so close but that we could see the dead body within."

William Baffin was a brilliant Arctic navigator but he met his end in a place about as unlike the North as it's possible to find on Earth. The British were fighting the Portuguese in the Gulf of Oman Noun 1. Gulf of Oman - an arm of the Arabian Sea connecting it with the Persian Gulf
Arabian Sea - a northwestern arm of the Indian Ocean between India and Arabia
, on the edge of the Arabian Desert. Baffin was asked to make observations of enemy positions from a castle wall. He "received a shot from the castle into his belly, wherewith where·with  
The thing or things with which.

By means of which.

adv. Obsolete
With what or which.
 he gave three leaps, and died immediately."


In 1919, the Danish government declared Ellesmere Island to be "no man's land."

No, said Canada, it's Canadian land. To prove it Canada opened a post office on the Bache Peninsula.

The mail was delivered once a year, but there couldn't have been a lot of it - nobody lived within hundreds of kilometres of the location.

But, operation of a post office is an internationally recognized proof of sovereignty.


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Title Annotation:history of the Inuit
Publication:Canada and the World Backgrounder
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 1, 1999
Previous Article:Life and Death in a Harsh Land.
Next Article:When the Good Life Ended.

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