What Is an Inuit?

inuit Credit: Jerry Kobalenko/All Canada Photos/Getty Images

An Inuit is an indigenous person from the arctic regions of Canada, Greenland or the United States. The term "Inuit" is often considered a more appropriate designation than the more common "Eskimo."

The Inuit of Canada live primarily in Nunavut, Northern Quebec and Labrador. American Inuit are dispersed around Alaska's North Slope and Little Diomede Island. The ancestors of the Inuit originally arrived in western Alaska from Siberia around A.D. 1000. Inuit speak a language known as Inuktitut. The Inuit enjoy a degree of political autonomy through the governance of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, an organization recognized by the United Nations.