Where do the Inuit live today?
The Inuit people live in the far northern areas of Alaska, Canada, Siberia, and Greenland. They originally made their home along the Alaskan coast, but migrated to other areas. Everything about the lives of the Inuit is influenced by the cold tundra climate in which they live.
Many people believe incorrectly that Inuit live only in igloos. In fact, although most Inuit live in regular old houses now, igloos are still used for the occasional hunting trip. Traditionally, Inuit do not operate in an organized society or government. And, they've never established a widespread tribal identity.
- The heat given off by people inside igloos can substantially warm the air inside (helped out by the fact that snow is a very good insulator). But because the snow/ice/water that makes up the igloo structure has so much more mass and has such a higher heat capacity than the air inside, the igloo melts slowly.
- Penguins do not live in igloos. The people who traditionally made igloos are the Inuit, who live in the far north of North America and Greenland, where there are no penguins. There are no people native to Antarctica, where most (but not all) penguins live. Here are some Inuit people building an igloo.
- While Inuit can be accurately applied to all of the Eskimo peoples in Canada and Greenland, that is not true in Alaska and Siberia. In Alaska the term Eskimo is commonly used, because it includes both Yupik and Iñupiat.
There are also about 6,000 NunatuKavut people (Labrador Metis or Inuit-metis) living in southern Labrador in what is called NunatuKavut. As of the 2006 Canada Census there were 4,165 Inuit living in the Northwest Territories. The majority, about 3,115, live in the six communities of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
- The word Eskimo was used to described the Inuit, Yupik and Inupiat people. The name Eskimo is used less frequently than in the passed in deference to the wishes of the Inuit people. Communities of Inuit people are found across the Arctic and are most closely related to the Aleut people.
- The Inuit are the aboriginal inhabitants of the North American Arctic, from Bering Strait to East Greenland, a distance of over 6000 kilometres. As well as Arctic Canada, Inuit also live in northern Alaska and Greenland, and have close relatives in Russia.
- This permanently frozen ground is called permafrost. The soil in the permafrost area remains colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).
Updated: 2nd October 2019