The name Inuit means “the people”. They are the descendants of what anthropologists call the Thule culture, a nomadic people who emerged from western Alaska and spread eastwards across the Arctic, displacing the related Dorset culture. Today there are around 160,000 Inuit people living in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Chukotka, Russia. In Canada there are eight main Inuit tribal groups, the Labrador, Ungava, Baffin Island, Iglulik, Caribou, Netsilik, Copper and Western Arctic Inuit or the Inuvialuit. In Canada the Inuit speak English but also their native language which is called Inuktitut. In Greenland the official Inuit language is called Kalaallisut.
The Inuit culture was essentially based on an egalitarian, hunter-gatherer society. They lived at the very edge of human settlement, a place where crops cannot be grown and all sustenance and means of maintaining life itself must come from one’s own cunning, skill and ingenuity