Tuniit - Native American history - Quatr.us
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Inuit History

Pre-Dorset fish hook
Pre-Dorset fish hook

February 2017 - Several thousand years after the first people crossed the Bering Land Bridge into North America, other people came to North America by boats, crossing from Siberia across the Arctic Ocean to Alaska. This was about 7000-5000 BC. Archaeologists call these people the pre-Dorset Culture. These people seem to have begun to leave Alaska about 4500 BC, when a warming period melted some of the Arctic ice, and they reached Greenland about 2500 BC. It seems like a long way from Alaska to Greenland on the map, but maps show Canada all stretched out: really it's not that far. (To get a better idea of distances, check out this website). The pre-Dorset people hunted musk ox and reindeer in the north, and further south they hunted seal and caribou, and like most people in the world at this time, they fished a lot.

A second wave of people migrated into the Arctic from the west about 1000 BC. Archaeologists call these people the Dorset Culture, and the Inuit called them the Tuniit. These people were tall and strong, and they seem to have reached Greenland, on the Atlantic coast, about 500 BC. About 200 AD, the Tuniit seem to have abandoned Greenland again, and then around 1000 AD they began to migrate back south into Greenland, at first living mainly in the north and gradually moving south. The Arctic was getting warmer around 1000 AD, and maybe this made it harder for the Tuniit to find and hunt the animals they depended on for food.

tuniit bear
Tuniit carving of a polar bear

The warmer weather melted the ice and made it easier for outsiders to invade Tuniit land. So about 1000 AD, the Tuniit people began to be conquered by a third wave of Inuit people who were moving east from Alaska along the Arctic Circle. The Inuit seem to have reached the Atlantic coast by around 1400 AD. These Inuit people were shorter than the Tuniit, but they had big military advantages because they had dogs and boats and iron tools, and apparently the Tuniit didn't. The Inuit hunted whales and used the meat to eat and the bones to build their houses. They pretty much conquered all the Tuniit.

Learn by doing: soap carving
More about the Inuit
Life among the Inuit

Bibliography and further reading about Tuniit history

More about the Inuit
Cree people
Algonquin people
Native Americans
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 28 June, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT