What Are Some Inuit Traditions?

Inuit traditions include the continued use of Inuit languages, storytelling as a way to pass events down to generations, dancing and the belief in mythology. Inuits often maintain a hunting tradition as a way to obtain food and keep a close connection to family and friends. Since World War II, Inuit traditions have seen change due to increased influence form outside cultures.

The Inuit are a group of people with cultural similarities who live in the Arctic. In Canada, the Inuit live in the northern regions of Nunavit, the Northwest Territories, Quebec and Labrador. Inuit communities are also found in northern Alaska and Greenland, with the Inuit comprising 89 percent of Greenland’s population. In total, there are about 118,426 Inuit, as of 2015. The Inuit speak several languages from the Eskimo-Aleut language family, including Canadian Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun. The communities typically follow Inuit traditional law, with the shaman, or angakkuq, assisting if needed.

Traditional storytelling and mythology play a large role in Inuit culture. For example, several legends center around the Aurora Borealis. Some communities believe that their ancestors can be seen dancing in the lights, while others believe that the Aurora Borealis will punish those who whistle at it. Gods such as Old Woman, or Sedna, are believed to live under the sea.