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Section title: Inuit
Introduction |  History |  Daily Life |  Culture | References

Daily Life


Because edible plants are scarce in the Arctic, the Inuit ate mostly meat they got from hunting. They ate animals such as caribou, seals, walruses, polar bears, arctic hares, musk oxen, birds such as ptarmigan, and fish such as arctic char, salmon and whitefish. In the summer they also gathered berries and other edible plants.


  Three Inuit children

Seal or walrus intestine is waterproof, and the Inuit scraped, cleaned, soaked and dried the intestines to make waterproof clothing. This kept the people dry, which was important since water freezes quickly in the North. People can get into a lot of trouble if they get wet in the Arctic and then freeze. Besides waterproof clothing, the Inuit also made parkas of caribou fur to wear in the cold winter.

Copper Inuit women wearing caribou-skin clothing, Coronation Gulf, Northwest Territories, 1916  

At one point, scientists in Canada did a study to find out what the warmest winter clothes were. This included clothes that were sewn out of cloth, wool and other fabrics. The caribou jacket was the warmest by far. Even in winter, Inuit could not sleep with their jackets on because they got so hot that they would sweat. Sweat is dangerous in a cold climate because, like water, it freezes.

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