What Are Some Arctic Indian Facts?

The Indians of the North American Arctic, or Inuit, were the last of the native people to settle in North America and comprised eight distinct groups: Labrador, New Quebec, Baffin Island, Igloolik, Caribou, Netsilik, Copper and Western Arctic. The name Inuit means "the people."

Because of the harsh climate and seasonal nature of food sources, Inuit people often were nomadic, following game or warmer weather. This necessitated easily disassembled homes. Typical summer shelter was a tent made of wood and animal hides. In the winter, the Inuit built temporary homes out of ice and snow. It took an experienced builder less than half an hour to construct an igloo.

The majority of the Inuit's diet came from meat. Plants were scarce in the arctic and, even during the summer, consisted mainly of moss and lichens. In the summer months, Inuit hunted caribou while winter hunting was largely for seals. The Inuit fished all year, from kayaks in the summer and through holes in the ice during the winter. Due to religious beliefs, the Inuit didn't consume the meat of land mammals and ocean animals during the same meal.

Inuit clothing was made of the hides of animals; caribou was a popular choice. The inner layer of an Inuit coat had fur facing the wearer while a second layer had fur facing away from the body. Sealskin was a favorite for footwear as it was both warm and water-resistant.