| Eskimo in Alaska 71° 17’ 51”N, 156° 45’ 38”W
Eskimos. Eskimaux. Inuit–Yupik. Inupiat–Yupik. There are many names for the brave, kayak-paddling people of the North who live in some of the harshest conditions known to man. Although it can be (and often is) used in neutral context, the term “eskimo” is generally thought to be slightly racist, much the same way the term “Indian” is insulting to Native Americans. Still, many of the Eskimos themselves consider the term an insult, so we should avoid using the term.
The two main peoples known as "Eskimo" are
(1) Inuit of northern Alaska, Canada, and Greenland
Alaska's Iñupiat people
The Iñupiat are the Inuit of Alaska's Northwest Arctic and North Slope boroughs and the Bering Straits region, including the Seward Peninsula. Barrow, the northernmost city in the United States, is above the Arctic Circle and in the Iñupiat region. Their language is known as Iñupiaq.
(2) Yupik of Central Alaska and Siberia.
The Yupik are indigenous peoples who live along the coast of western Alaska, especially on the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta and along the Kuskokwim River (Central Alaskan Yup'ik); in southern Alaska (the Alutiiq); and along the eastern coast of Chukotka in the Russian Far East and St. Lawrence Island in western Alaska (the Siberian Yupik). The Yupik economy has traditionally been strongly dominated by the harvest of marine mammals, especially seals, walrus, and whales.
Eskimos are :
1. Name : The generally accepted, politically correct name (that many of them also use themselves) is Inuit.
2. Kiss : An Eskimo kiss is when two people rub their noses together as a sign of affection. The Eskimo kiss is actually called “kunik”, and it has little to do with kissing or rubbing noses together. It’s a type of intimate greeting, often practiced between couples or children and their parents. The greeters may look like they rub noses, but they are actually sniffing each others’ hair and cheeks.
3. Food : They live in a barren, cold environment, their diet is heavily based on different meats and only occasionally features some berries and seaweed. Inuit have always been expert hunters that can capture almost anything. The meats they consume include caribou, narwhal, walrus, seal, and various fish and birds. Even polar bears sometimes appear on the menu.
4. House : The igloo is the quintessential dwelling of an Inuit: an ingenious dome-shaped construct built from blocks of ice and snow. A clever shelter crafted from the very thing that causes the need for shelter in the first place, the Igloo uses snow’s insulating properties to create a comfortable dwelling.
5. Fear : Qallupilluk (or Qalupalik, or Kallupilluk, literally meaning “The Monster”) was the Inuit people’s bogeyman of choice. According to legend, it was a perversely twisted humanoid that waited under the water to drag unwary people in the icy depths of the sea. This was a natural and healthy fear in an arctic society where dropping in the water often meant death.
6. The word “snow” : In reality, the Inuit only have about as many words for snow as English-speaking folks. Their language just enables them to string words into these words so that a seemingly single word can mean anything from “yeah, that’s snow all right” to “that snow that looks suspiciously yellow now and totally didn’t yesterday.”
7. Armor : The Inuit people are, out of necessity, quite skilled in crafting warm, durable clothing. However, back when they relied exclusively on hunting to survive, they were also very talented armor makers. After all, a lot of their prey could be dangerous, and no one wants to take on a massive beast without at some protection. Traditional Inuit weapons were largely made of scavenged materials (such as wood and stone) and the animals they killed.
8. Poverty : Their “modernized” life sees quite a bit more poverty and unemployment than most other parts of the Western world. This, along with discrimination and officials ignoring them as a culture (particularly in the U.S.), has led to many social issues, such as increased alcoholism. Western diet and a less strenuous lifestyle have also begetted a multitude of health issues.