Inuit story tells of a girl, Kannakapfaluk (sometimes called Sedna or
Niviarsiang), who was married to a dog as a punishment for her stubborn refusal to
choose a suitor. Her new husband took her to his island, where they had many
puppies. For revenge, one day Kannkapfluk put the children in her boots and set
them out of sea. One boot landed not far away, and the children in it became the
ancestors of the Indians. They at least were said to look human, although they had
their father`s heart. The other boot drifted across the ocean, and the puppies in it
became the ancestors of the qublunaq, the white men, who one day returned to the
Arctic in their sailing ships. With their hairy bodies and bearded faces (qablunaq
means “heavy eyebrows”), they resembled their dog-father even in outward
Visit the websites http://collections.ic.gc.ca/arctic/inuit/pre-euro.htm
With the help of the information given, try to compare the Inuit´s life before and after the
made contact with them.
The Inuit are the
aboriginal inhabitants of about half of the world´s Arctic, from
to the eastern coast of Greenland, a straight-line distance of over 6000 kilometres. Nobody
knows exactly why the ancestors of todays Inuits began their trek into the frigid and treeless
areas of the High Arctic and Greenland. They must have been hungry people, used to cold and
hardship and a way of life that demanded constant movement from one place to another just to
wring a living from a sparse land.
After the first period of settlement, about a thousand years ago, the Thule culture developed.
A high point in Inuit history - a kind of Arctic golden age. Superb hunters, the Thule Inuit had
the technology and skills to live almost everywhere in the Arctic. In many areas their summer
whale hunting yielded enough food to support people througout the winter in comparative ease,
living in large, warm sod houses. Some of their villages contained fifty or sixty houses.
But the first explorers who come to the Central Arctic found something completely different.
The whole focus on whaling had disappeared, and with it the elaborate culture it supported,
including a large seasonal food surplus and permanent winter houses. What had happened?
Visit the website http://www.civilization.ca/educat/oracle/modules/dmorrison/page02_e.html
and try to find out what had happened.
Building with Snow
except in Alaska, the snowhouse was used mainly as a temporary dwelling,
something that could be quickly thrown up when needed or when caught by a sudden blizzard. It
is only in the Central Arctic, that the Inuits lived the whole winter in snowhouses. And no wonder.
For on the sea ice, what other building material is there besides snow? The snowhouse was an a
lmost perfect marriage of form and function. The basic shape is universally familiar: a dome made
from blocks of snow, with a long tunnel for a door. Its chief advantages are strength and the ability
to hold up a roof without internal supports. Four or five adults can stand on a roof of a properly
made snowhouse without any danger of damaging. As well as strength, a snow house was designed
for warmth and comfort, particularly if it was intended as more than a temporary living. A block of
freshwater ice set in the roof provided light. The entrance tunnel would be very long, about 10 or
15 metres, and built at right angles to the prevailing winds. It would also be the lowest part of the
house, coming into the interior floor from below.
Because cold air
sinks and warm air rises, not even the breath of a draft would get in.
In fact so
effective was this "cold trap", that even if the tunnel was left unblocked it was usually necessary
to cut a small ventilation hole in the roof.
Visit the websites http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF0/076.html and
http://home.uleth.ca/sfa-gal/TWAM/vr1/pop-ups/19881069.htm try to build a model snowhouse
with the help of the instructions given.