Inuits of Greenland: An Adaptive Society

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Inuits of Greenland: An Adaptive Society

In a world far different from our own in the Northern Hemisphere lies an indigenous society known as the Inuits. Specifically focusing on the Inuits of Greenland these people have adopted various risk management strategies which has enabled them to survive in a harsh arctic environment. In indigenous cultures, their well-being and sustainability is managed through control of population growth like most present day indigenous societies have been influenced by western ideas and technologies, in which some of these influences have been beneficial while other western influences have threatened their traditional way of life.

The Inuits or “Kalaallit” are the native people of Greenland, they have lived there for almost one thousand years. Today Greenland’s population is around 55,000, 85 percent of whom are Inuit (Caulfield:1997,1). The national language is Greenlandic, which is an branch of Inupik, or Eskimo language. There are three dialects according to the region in which they are spoken, such as West Greenlandic, East Greenlandic and Polar-Eskimo. Hunting, along with fishing is fundamental to their livelihood. Today, the Inuits are highly dependent on traditional methods of obtaining food through hunting and fishing.

Inuits were first introduced to Westerners in the Thirteenth century. The encounters began between the Norse colonists on Western shore and Inuit hunters. During the 17th and 18th centuries, traders returned to Europe with many artifacts from the Inuits. They also took these indigenous people as slaves, stolen from their native land to be put on display. The Inuits were viewed as heavy but happy people surviving in a rough environment. These i...

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