The Inuit were the last native people to arrive in North America. All the good land to the south was already occupied by hostile Indians so they settled in the Arctic. Nobody else wanted it because it was one of the most extreme climates in the world. But the Inuit were masters at adapting to sustain their people over thousands of years.
The Inuit lived in an area comprising a large part of northern Earth, including Northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia.
The languages of the Inuit can be divided into many different languages and dialects. However, all of the Inuit languages come from one main language family: the Inuit-Aleut, also known as the Eskimaleut language family.
The languages groups can be grouped into an Eastern branch and a Western branch, which can then be further divided into individual languages and dialects of those languages.
Eastern Branch (Inuktitut languages):
- The Eastern Branch languages have three different names for the language.
- Inuktitut (in Canada)
- Inupiaq (in Alaska)
- Kalaallisut (in Greenland)
- There are three different names, but it is considered to be the same language.
- There are also many dialects from this language branch spoken in the three countries.
Western Branch (Yupik languages):
- Yupik is divided into three distinct languages.
- Central Alaskan Yupik
- Pacific Gulf Yupik (Alaska)
- Siberian Yupik (Canada and Alaska)
- Each of these three languages has several dialects as well.
The Inuit have a distinct culture and appearance from other First Peoples groups in Canada, which really set them apart. Historically, the Canadian Inuit were divided into eight main groups: Labrador Inuit, Ungava or New Quebec Inuit, Baffin Island, Igloolik, Caribou, Netsilik, Copper and Western Arctic Inuit.