Inuit life - Native Americans
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Inuit Life

Inuit carving
Inuit carving

Inuit (INN-oo-it) people lived mainly by hunting seal and walrus and by fishing, and by gathering wild berries and roots like parsnips. They could not just eat fish because fish don't have enough fat in them, so they needed to catch seal too. They also gathered seaweed to eat. To hunt seal, people used little seal-skin boats called kayaks that only one person could sit in. People also had bigger boats, called umiak, for transporting people and things from one village to another. They also used dog sleds to get from one village to another over land. Because there wasn't much wood where they lived, or much good stone, people made most of their tools out of bone, especially walrus ivory.

As in other parts of the world in the Middle Ages, people were often hungry because they didn't have enough food. Sometimes Inuit people attacked other Inuit villages to steal their food. But people entertained each other with songs, music, dancing, and stories. They weren't rich, but nobody was much richer or poorer than anybody else.

Learn by doing: go out and pick some wild berries
More about the Inuit

Bibliography and further reading about Inuit history:

Later Inuit history
Chinook people
Blackfoot people
Native Americans home

Copyright 2012-2015 Karen Carr, Portland State University. This page last updated September 2015.

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