The Inuit live in the northwestern regions of Alaska in the United States, Northern Canada, coastal regions of Greenland and in some communities in Denmark and northern Russia. An estimated total of between 118,000 and 150,000 indigenous Inuit people live in these regions and speak the Inuit language. The Inuit are also known as "Eskimos," but the name, which originated among the Native Americans as a descriptive term, is considered a racial slur.
Inuit means "the people" in the Inuit language, and the singular term is Inuk. Greenland and Canada hold the largest Inuit populations, with estimates of about 50,000 Inuit living in each country. The Inuit represent Canada's next-to-largest indigenous group after the Cree. The Inuit living in Greenland are Danish citizens and the Inuit dialect of Kalaallisut is Greenland's official language, although Danish is also spoken. The Inuit language has the status of an official language in the Canadian province of Nunavut and in the Canadian Northwest Territories. About 8 percent of the total Canadian population claims Inuit as their first spoken language.
Anthropologists disagree regarding the migratory history of the Inuit. Some believe that the Inuit migrated to North America from Siberia by crossing the Bering Strait, and then began moving across the continent until they eventually reached Greenland around the beginning of the 2nd century.