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eskimos traditional north america

Eskimo, European name for the Inuit people, indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic regions of northeast Asia, North America, and Greenland. Probably of Asian origin, the Eskimos speak languages of the Aleut group. Anthropologists believe that the Eskimos came to North America by crossing the Bering Strait land-bridge from Asia c.2000 B.C. Their traditional way of life was strongly influenced by the severity of the Arctic climate. Since the ground is seldom frost-free, agriculture is undeveloped, and vegetation is limited to small plants. The only wood available is driftwood. The Eskimos depend mainly on seals, fish, walrus, and shales for food, fuel, and clothing. Their main weapon is the harpoon. The kayak, a one-person canoe covered with skin, and the umlak, a larger skin boat, are used for fishing and hunting. Most Eskimo property is traditionally communal, and the people tended to live in relatively small groups. In recent years growing numbers of Eskimos have left their traditional way of life to take jobs and settle in the less remote areas of Alaska and Canada.

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