Tools of the Inuit Tribe

Published on March 13, 2014 by Amy

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Tools of the Inuit Tribe
Tools of the Inuit Tribe

The Inuit tribe has lived and survived in the Arctic for centuries. The Inuit or Eskimo people developed innovative social networks and survival techniques to deal with the harsh cold and extreme environmental conditions. They fashioned tools and implements with sparsely available raw materials such as driftwood, bone, stone, shells and animal skins. Modern day Inuit no longer lead a nomadic lifestyle and use modern technology to hunt and fish; however, it is interesting to look at the tools that enabled them to survive before they adapted to the introduction of new technologies.

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Hunting Tools

The Inuit used different implements for hunting different types of animals and birds. Bolas were used for for hunting birds. These were lines weighted down by stones that were whirled around and aimed at birds in flight. The Inuit used implements to scratch ice and attract the attention of seals in the vicinity. The used harpoons to hunt seal, and hunting knives made of stone, and later of metal, to butcher and skin the animals. Bows and arrows were used to hunt bear.


The Inuit used kayaks to fish for salmon. Kayaks were built from driftwood, Arctic willow and sealskin. Kayaks were used for hunting and fishing. The Inuit developed the ability to maneuver their kayaks toward their target with dexterity without capsizing. Hunting tools were secured onto the front of the kayaks with leather straps.

Fishing Tools

Fishing was an important part of Inuit life. Fish returned to lakes and streams from the ocean during fall. This was the ideal time for the Inuit to go spear fishing. The Inuit also went ice fishing during winter. They cut into the ice with hunting knives and used three-pronged spears and fishing lines to fish. They fashioned harpoon heads with whalebone and then attached them to lines and sealskin floats, and then placed them in the water.

Other Tools and Implements

The Inuit carved needles out of stone. These needles were used for stitching skins into clothes bags and other essential items required for everyday life. They also used muscle tendons from animals as thread. The Inuit were extremely innovative, using raw materials around them to fulfill their basic needs. They carved snow goggles out of bone or wood with a slit to see through, using them to shield their eyes from the intense glare from the snow. One of their most important modes of transportation was the dogsled that was fashioned from different types of wood.

Source: ehow Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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