Published on February 20, 2012 by Amy
The Arctic region of North America stretches 5000 miles from the Bering Strait to Greenland. The January temperatures often drop to -40º Fahrenheit. The land is flat except for the central Alaska area.
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Permanent home were made of stone and earth. They were built partially underground. Whale ribs sometimes supported the roof. Temporary winter hunting lodges called igloos were made from snow and ice. The Inuit formed a circular foundation of ice blocks. They stacked smaller blocks to create a dome at the top. A small hole was left for ventilation. Gaps in the ice blocks were filled with soft snow and the inside was lined with furs.
Warm clothing was important to the Inuit tribes. Sealskin was usually wore in the summer. In the winter caribou skin was worn. Caribou skin was light weight yet very warm. Clothing was also made of other skins including thoses of musk oxen, polar bears, and birds. The women skinned the animals and made the clothing. The women used bones for needles and gut thread. Both men and women wore hooded tunics and trousers over long boots. the women’s tunics were made very large so she could carry her baby inside the tunic.
The walrus, seal, and other fur-bearing sea mammals supply food and clothing to the Inuit. All parts of the animals were used. Parkas were made of seal-skin. The walrus hide was made into boats. In the winter seals were harpooned at their breathing holes in the ice. A hunter might have to stand still for hours waiting for the seal to come up for air. In the summer the seals came out of the water to sun themselves. The hunter can crawl close to the seal and throw a harpoon to kill the seal. In late summer the caribou were hunted. Inuit hunters made camp near the caribou grazing grounds. They would ambush the slow-moving herd with bows and arrows.
The Arctic people are closely connected to nature. Their tradition believes that every being has a spirit and must be treated with respect.
Umiaks were large open boats.
The kayak was a light canoe. It was made byt stretching skins over a wooden framework.
The Inuit used several kinds of harpoons and spears. Large harpoons were used to hunt the walrus. Smaller spears were used for hunting small animals and birds. Wooden spear throwers were used to increase the spear’s power. All spear throwers were individually made for the hunter. The length of the thrower was equal to the distance between the hunters forefinger and his elbow. This have the hunter and extra arm joint.
Inuit artists created simple animals, birds, and scenes of daily life and travel. These were often appliquéd to caribou and sealskin. Stone sculptures of animals such as the wolf, polar bear, birds, reindeer, and walrus were also common.