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Unidentified Inuk Artist

Inuit means 'the people' in Inuktitut, the language spoken by Inuit people across the North American Arctic and is the word they use to describe themselves. Eskimo was once thought to be derived from a Algonkian word meaning 'eaters of raw meat'. Although there is no evidence for this derrivation, nor for any derrogatory origin of the work, Inuit prefer the use of their own name. Regional variants include Inughuit for the people of northwest Greenland (The Polar Eskimo), Inuvialuit for the people of the Mackenzie Delta, Inupiat for the people of the North Alaskan Coast, and Nunamiut for the Inuit people of interior Alaska.

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The Inuit are Arctic peoples living in Greenland, Arctic Canada and Alaska. They speak Inuktitut (and its dialects), a member of the Esk-Aleut language family. Most Inuit are maritime hunter gatherers who rely on sea mammals, from small ringed seals to huge bowhead whales, for subsistence. Fish and land mammals such as caribou are also important, but plant foods are not. Traditionaly Inuit were a highly mobile society, particularly in Canada and Greenland. In the Mackenzie Delta and Alaska, larger, more permanent (but still not year round) villages were constructed. Modern Inuit live in permanent towns and villages, but traditional activities, such as hunting, and tradtional foods such as seal and whale meat, are still an important part of everyday life.

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