The Iñupiat (or Inupiaq) are a group of Alaska Natives, whose traditional territory roughly spans northeast from Norton Sound on the Bering Sea to the northernmost part of the Canada–United States border. By cultural and linguistic origin, they are an Inuit people. Their current communities include seven Alaskan villages in the North Slope Borough, affiliated with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation; eleven villages in Northwest Arctic Borough; and sixteen villages affiliated with the Bering Straits Regional Corporation.
|Regions with significant populations|
|North and northwest Alaska (United States)|
|North Alaskan Inupiatun,|
Northwest Alaskan Inupiatun, English
|Related ethnic groups|
Iñupiat (IPA: [iɲupiɐt]), formerly Inyupik, is the plural form of the name for the people and the name of their language. The singular form is Iñupiaq (IPA: [iɲupiɑq]), which also sometimes refers to the language. Iñupiak (IPA: [iɲupiɐk]) is the dual form. The roots are iñuk "person" and -piaq "real", i.e., an endonym meaning "real people".
The Iñupiat people are made up of the following communities,
To equitably manage natural resources, Iñupiat people belong to several of the Alaskan Native Regional Corporations. These are the following.
Inupiat now speak only two native languages: North Alaskan Inupiat and Northwest Alaskan Inupiat. Many more dialects of these languages flourished prior to contact with European cultures. English is spoken by the Iñupiat because in Native American boarding schools, Iñupiaq children were punished for speaking their own languages.
Several Inupiat people developed pictographic writing systems in the early twentieth century. It is known as Alaskan Picture Writing.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers an online course called Beginning Inupiaq Eskimo, an introductory course to the Inupiaq language open to both speakers and non-speakers of Inupiaq.
Iñupiaq groups, in common with Inuit-speaking groups, often have a name ending in "miut," which means 'a people of'. One example is the Nunamiut, a generic term for inland Iñupiaq caribou hunters. During a period of starvation and an influenza epidemic (likely introduced by American and European whaling crews,) most of these people moved to the coast or other parts of Alaska between 1890 and 1910. A number of Nunamiut returned to the mountains in the 1930s.
By 1950, most Nunamiut groups, such as the Killikmiut, had coalesced in Anaktuvuk Pass, a village in north-central Alaska. Some of the Nunamiut remained nomadic until the 1950s.
Iñupiat people are hunter-gatherers, as are most Arctic peoples. Iñupiat people continue to rely heavily on subsistence hunting and fishing. Depending on their location, they harvest walrus, seal, whale, polar bears, caribou, and fish. Both the inland (Nunamiut) and coastal (Taġiumiut, i.e. Tikiġaġmiut) Iñupiat depend greatly on fish. Throughout the seasons when they are available food staples also include ducks, geese, rabbits, berries, roots, and shoots.
The capture of a whale benefits each member of an Iñupiat community, as the animal is butchered and its meat and blubber are allocated according to a traditional formula. Even city-dwelling relatives, thousands of miles away, are entitled to a share of each whale killed by the hunters of their ancestral village. Maktak, which is the skin and blubber of Bowhead and other whales, is rich in vitamins A and C. The Vitamin C content of meats is destroyed by cooking, so consumption of raw meats and these vitamin-rich foods contributes to good health in a population with limited access to fruits and vegetables.
Since the 1970s, oil and other resources have been an important revenue source for the Iñupiat. The Alaska Pipeline connects the Prudhoe Bay wells with the port of Valdez in south-central Alaska. Because of the oil drilling in Alaska’s arid north, however, the traditional way of whaling is coming into conflict with one of the modern world’s most pressing demands: finding more oil.
The Inupiat eat Ribes triste raw or cooked, mix them with other berries which are used to make a traditional dessert. They also mix the berries with rosehips and highbush cranberries and boil them into a syrup.
Traditionally, different Iñupiat people lived in sedentary communities, while others were nomadic. Some villages in the area have been occupied by other indigenous groups for more than 10,000 years.
The Nalukataq is a spring whaling festival among Iñupiat.
There is one Iñupiat culture-oriented institute of higher education, Iḷisaġvik College, located in Utqiagvik.
Iñupiat people have grown more concerned in recent years that climate change is threatening their traditional lifestyle. The warming trend in the Arctic affects their lifestyle in numerous ways, for example: thinning sea ice makes it more difficult to harvest bowhead whales, seals, walrus, and other traditional foods; warmer winters make travel more dangerous and less predictable; later-forming sea ice contributes to increased flooding and erosion along the coast, directly imperiling many coastal villages. The Inuit Circumpolar Council, a group representing indigenous peoples of the Arctic, has made the case that climate change represents a threat to their human rights.
As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the Iñupiat population in the United States numbered more than 19,000. Most of them live in Alaska.
North Slope Borough : Anaktuvuk Pass (Anaqtuuvak, Naqsraq), Atqasuk (Atqasuk), Utqiagvik (Utqiaġvik, Ukpiaġvik), Kaktovik (Qaagtuviġmiut), Nuiqsut (Nuiqsat), Point Hope (Tikiġaq), Point Lay (Kali), Wainwright (Ulġuniq)
Northwest Arctic Borough : Ambler (Ivisaappaat), Buckland (Nunatchiaq), Deering (Ipnatchiaq), Kiana (Katyaak, Katyaaq), Kivalina (Kivalliñiq), Kobuk (Laugviik), Kotzebue (Qikiqtaġruk), Noatak (Nuataaq ), Noorvik (Nuurvik), Selawik (Siilvik, Akuligaq ), Shungnak (Isiŋnaq, Nuurviuraq)
Nome Census Area : Brevig Mission (Sitaisaq, Sinauraq), Diomede (Inalik), Golovin (Siŋik), Koyuk (Quyuk), Nome (Siqnazuaq), Shaktoolik (Saqtuliq), Shishmaref\ (Qiġiqtaq), Stebbins (Tapqaq), Teller (Tala), Wales (Kiŋigin), White Mountain (Natchirsvik), Unalakleet (Uŋalaqłiq)
Alaska Natives or Alaskan Natives are indigenous peoples of Alaska, United States and include: Iñupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures. They are often defined by their language groups. Many Alaska Natives are enrolled in federally recognized Alaska Native tribal entities, who in turn belong to 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations, who administer land and financial claims.
Ancestors of Alaska Natives migrated into the area thousands of years ago, in at least two different waves. Some are descendants of a third wave of migration in which people settled across the northern part of North America. They never migrated to southern areas. For this reason, genetic studies show they are not closely related to Native Americans in South America.
Throughout the Arctic and the circumpolar north, the ancestors of Alaska Natives established varying indigenous, complex cultures that have succeeded each other over time. They developed sophisticated ways to deal with the challenging climate and environment, and cultures rooted in the place. Historic groups have been defined by their languages, which belong to several major language families. Today, Alaska Natives comprise over 15% of the population of Alaska.Eskimo
Eskimo ( ESS-kih-moh) or Eskimos are the indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the northern circumpolar region from eastern Siberia (Russia) to Alaska (of the United States), Canada, and Greenland. The two main peoples known as "Eskimo" are: (1) the Inuit, including the Alaskan Iñupiat peoples, the Greenlandic Inuit, and the mass-grouping Inuit peoples of Canada, and (2) the Yupik of eastern Siberia and Alaska. A third northern group, the Aleut, is closely related to both. They share a relatively recent common ancestor, and a language group (Eskimo-Aleut).
The non-Inuit sub-branch of the Eskimo branch of the Eskimo-Aleut language family consists of four distinct Yupik languages, two used in the Russian Far East and St. Lawrence Island, and two used in western Alaska, southwestern Alaska, and the western part of Southcentral Alaska. The extinct language of the Sirenik people is sometimes argued to be related to these.
The word Eskimo derives from phrases that Algonquin tribes used for their northern neighbors. The Inuit and Yupik peoples generally do not use it to refer to themselves. The governments in Canada and Greenland have ceased using it in official documents.Inuit
The Inuit (; syllabics: ᐃᓄᐃᑦ, "the people", singular: Inuk, dual: Inuuk) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting Inuit Nunangat, the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. The Inuit languages are part of the Eskimo–Aleut family. Inuit Sign Language is a critically endangered language isolate used in Nunavut.In Canada and the United States, the term "Eskimo" was commonly used by ethnic Europeans to describe the Inuit and Siberia's and Alaska's Yupik and Iñupiat peoples. However, "Inuit" is not accepted as a term for the Yupik, and "Eskimo" is the only term that applies to Yupik, Iñupiat and Inuit. Since the late 20th century, Indigenous peoples in Canada and Greenlandic Inuit consider "Eskimo" to be a pejorative term, and they more frequently identify as "Inuit" for an autonym. In Canada, sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982 classified the Inuit as a distinctive group of Aboriginal Canadians who are not included under either the First Nations or the Métis.The Inuit live throughout most of Northern Canada in the territory of Nunavut, Nunavik in the northern third of Quebec, Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut in Labrador, and in various parts of the Northwest Territories, particularly around the Arctic Ocean. These areas are known in the Inuktitut language as the "Inuit Nunangat".In the United States, the Iñupiat live primarily on the Alaska North Slope and on Little Diomede Island. The Greenlandic Inuit are descendants of ancient indigenous migrations from Canada, as these people migrated to the east through the continent. They are citizens of Denmark, although not of the European Union.Inuit music
Traditional Inuit music, the music of the Inuit, has been based on drums used in dance music as far back as can be known, and a vocal style called katajjaq (Inuit throat singing) has become of interest in Canada and abroad. Yupik music is the music of the Yupik peoples. Eskimo music is Inuit-Yupik music. Iñupiat music is the music of the Iñupiat.
Characteristics of Inuit music include: recitative-like singing, complex rhythmic organization, relatively small melodic range averaging about a sixth, prominence of major thirds and minor seconds melodically, with undulating melodic movement.The Copper Inuit living around Coppermine River flowing North to Coronation Gulf have generally two categories of music. A song is called pisik (also known as pisiit or piheq) if the
performer also plays drums and aton if he only dances. Each pisik functions as a personal song of a drummer and is accompanied by dancing and singing. Each drummer has his own style and performs during gatherings. One drum is used in the performance of a pisik and often begins in a slow tempo, gradually building in intensity. The wooden frame drum, called a qilaut is played on the edge with a wooden beater called a qatuk. The performer tilts the drum from one side to another and dances in rhythm of the beats.Inuksuk
An inuksuk (plural inuksuit) (from the Inuktitut: ᐃᓄᒃᓱᒃ, plural ᐃᓄᒃᓱᐃᑦ; alternatively inukhuk in Inuinnaqtun, iñuksuk in Iñupiaq, inussuk in Greenlandic, and sometimes inukshuk in English) is a manmade stone landmark or cairn built for use by the Inuit, Iñupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. These structures are found in northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska (United States). This combined region, above the Arctic Circle, is dominated by the tundra biome and has areas with few natural landmarks.
The inuksuk may historically have been used for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, places of veneration, drift fences used in hunting, or to mark a food cache. The Iñupiat in northern Alaska used inuksuit to assist in the herding of caribou into contained areas for slaughter. Varying in shape and size, the inuksuit have ancient roots in Inuit culture.Historically, the most common types of inuksuk are built with stone placed upon stone. The simplest type is a single stone positioned in an upright manner. There is some debate as to whether the appearance of human- or cross-shaped cairns developed in the Inuit culture before the arrival of European missionaries and explorers. The size of some inuksuit suggest that the construction was often a communal effort.At Inuksuk Point (Enukso Point) on Baffin Island, there are more than 100 inuksuit. The site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1969.Inupiaq language
Inupiaq , Inupiat , Inupiatun or Alaskan Inuit, is a group of dialects of the Inuit languages, spoken by the Iñupiat people in northern and northwestern Alaska, and part of the Northwest Territories. The Inupiat language is a member of the Inuit-Yupik-Unangan language family, and is closely related to Inuit languages of Canada and Greenland. There are roughly 2,000 speakers. It is considered a threatened language with most speakers at or above the age of 40. Iñupiaq is an official language of the State of Alaska.The name is also rendered as Inupiatun, Iñupiatun, Iñupiaq, Inyupiaq, Inyupiat, Inyupeat, Inyupik, and Inupik.
The main varieties of the Iñupiaq language are Northern Alaskan Iñupiaq and Seward Peninsula Iñupiaq.
The Iñupiaq language has been in decline since contact with English in the late 19th century. American colonization and the legacy of boarding schools have created a situation today where a small minority of Inupiat speak the Iñupiaq language. There is, however, revitalization work underway today in several communities.Iñupiat Heritage Center
The Iñupiat Heritage Center is a museum in Utqiaġvik in the U.S. state of Alaska. Dedicated in February 1999, it is an affiliated area of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and recognizes the contributions of Alaska Natives to the history of whaling.
It houses exhibits, artifact collections, a library, a gift shop, and a traditional room where traditional crafts are demonstrated and taught. The North Slope Borough owns and manages the Heritage Center on behalf of the whaling villages of the North Slope. The Heritage Center is one of several associated partners that participate in telling the story of commercial whaling in the United States. Park partners operate independently but collaborate in a variety of educational and interpretive programs.
The Iñupiat Heritage Center (IHC) brings people together to promote and perpetuate Iñupiat history, language and culture. This dynamic interaction between the Iñupiat and their environment fosters the awareness, understanding and appreciation of the Iñupiat way of life from generation to generation.List of American Inuit
This is a partial list of Notable American Inuit, especially Iñupiat, who largely reside in Alaska. The Arctic and subarctic dwelling Inuit (formerly referred to as Eskimo) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting Canada.
John Baker, dog musher, pilot and motivational speaker
Irene Bedard, actor
Ada Blackjack, castaway
Rita Pitka Blumenstein, traditional doctor,
Ramy Brooks, kennel owner and operator, motivational speaker, and dog musher
Ray Mala, actor
Uyaquk, Moravian missionary and linguistic geniusMukluk
Mukluks or Kamik (Inuktitut: ᑲᒥᒃ [kaˈmik]) (singular: ᑲᒪᒃ kamak, plural: ᑲᒦᑦ kamiit) are a soft boot, traditionally made of reindeer (caribou) skin or sealskin, and worn by Arctic aboriginal people, including the Inuit, Iñupiat, and Yupik.
Mukluks may be worn over an inner boot liner and under a protective overshoe. The term mukluk is often used for any soft boot designed for cold weather, and modern designs may use both traditional and modern materials. The word "mukluk" is of Iñupiat and Yupik origin, from maklak, the bearded seal, while "kamik" is an Inuit word. In the Inuipiaq language the "u" makes an "oo" sound, and so the spelling "maklak" is used with the same pronunciation.Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government
The Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government (previously, Native Village of Barrow) is a U.S. federally recognized Alaska Native Inupiat "tribal entity", as listed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs circa 2003. Located in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, it is part of the North Slope Borough. The constitution and by-laws of the native village were established in 1940 under the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934. An IRA corporation was also created.
This corporation is not to be confused with the for-profit village corporation in Barrow, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC), created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.Nunamiut
The Nunamiut or Nunatamiut (Inupiaq: Nunataaġmiut, IPA: [nunɐtaːɴmiut], "People of the Land") are semi-nomadic inland Iñupiat located in the northern and northwestern Alaskan interior, mostly around Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska.Point Barrow
Point Barrow or Nuvuk is a headland on the Arctic coast in the U.S. state of Alaska, 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Utqiagvik. It is the northernmost point of all the territory of the United States, at 71°23′20″N 156°28′45″W. The distance to the North Pole is 1,122 nautical miles (1,291 mi; 2,078 km). The northernmost point on the Canadian mainland, Murchison Promontory, is 40 miles (64 km) farther north.
Point Barrow is an important geographical landmark, marking the limit between two marginal seas of the Arctic, the Chukchi Sea on its western side and the Beaufort Sea on the eastern, both delimited to the North by the edge of the map as seen here.
It was named by English explorer Frederick William Beechey in 1826 for Sir John Barrow, a statesman and geographer of the British Admiralty. The water around it is normally ice-free for two or three months a year, but this was not the experience of the early explorers. Beechey could not reach it by ship and had to send a ship's boat ahead. In 1826 John Franklin tried to reach it from the east and was blocked by ice. In 1837 Thomas Simpson walked 50 miles west to Point Barrow after his boats were stopped by ice. In 1849 William Pullen rounded it in two whale boats after sending two larger boats back west because of the ice.
Point Barrow has been a jumping-off point for many Arctic expeditions, including the Wilkins-Detroit Arctic Expeditions and the April 15, 1928, Eielson-Wilkins flight across the Arctic Ocean to Spitsbergen.
It is 33 km (20.5 mi) northeast of the Rogers-Post Site, the scene of the airplane crash on August 15, 1935 that killed aviator Wiley Post and his passenger, the entertainer Will Rogers.
The "Shooting Station" is located a few miles southwest of Point Barrow. so named because between 1965 and 1972 it was a launch site for Nike-Cajun and Nike Apache sounding rockets. It is the site of a Global Atmosphere Watch atmospheric monitoring station and summer cabins constructed by locals and used for subsistence hunting and fishing.The term Point Barrow whales refers to gray whales that were trapped in the ice at Point Barrow in 1988, which attracted attention from the public worldwide. The Iñupiat do not hunt gray whales and joined in rescue operations which also involved Soviet icebreakers.Qargi
Qargi (Inupiaq: [qɑɻɣi]), Qasgi or Qasgiq (by the Yup'iks), Qaygiq (by the Cup'iks), Kashim (by the Russians), Kariyit, a traditional large semi-subterranean men's community house' (or "communal men's house, men's house, ceremonial house, council house, dance house, communal gathering place") of the Yup'ik and Inuit, also Deg Hit'an Athabaskans (at Anvik, Alaska), was used for public and ceremonial occasions and as a men’s residence. The Qargi was the place where men built their boats, repaired their equipment, took sweat baths, educated young boys, and hosted community dances. Here people learned their oral history, songs and chants. Young boys and men learned to make tools and weapons while they listened to the traditions of their forefathers.The qargi was almost always a separate building because the dwellings were not large enough to hold very many men. The qargi was a combination courthouse, church, workshop, dance hall, and received center, two or three times the size of a typical house. It was the place where the storytelling, dancing, singing, and games (high-kick games) that so enriched Yupik and Inuit life took place. The qargi was a communal building in which women were usually not permitted.Prior to the arrival of Christian missionaries in the 1890s, every Inupiaq settlement had one or more of these ceremonial houses.Subsistence hunting of the bowhead whale
Subsistence hunting of the bowhead whale is permitted by the International Whaling Commission, under limited conditions. While whaling is banned in most parts of the world, some of the Native peoples of North America, including the Eskimo and Iñupiat peoples in Alaska, continue to hunt the Bowhead whale. Aboriginal whaling is valued for its contribution to food stocks (subsistence economy) and to cultural survival, although the days of commercial whaling in the United States and in Canada are over.Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation
Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation, or UIC, is one of about 200 Alaska Native village corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) in settlement of aboriginal land claims. Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation was incorporated in Alaska on April 19, 1973. Located in Utqiagvik, Alaska, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation is a for-profit corporation whose Alaska Native shareholders are primarily of Iñupiat Eskimo descent.
The name of the corporation derives from one of the Iñupiaq names for Utqiaġvik, ukpiaġvik, which means "place to hunt snowy owls."Ulu
An ulu (Inuktitut syllabics: ᐅᓗ, plural: uluit, English: "woman's knife") is an all-purpose knife traditionally used by Inuit, Yupik, and Aleut women. It is utilized in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child's hair, cutting food, as a weapon and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo.Utqiagvik, Alaska
Utqiagvik (Inupiaq: Utqiaġvik, IPA: [utqe.ɑʁvik], English: UUT-kee-AH-vik), officially the City of Utqiaġvik, and previously Barrow () is the largest city and the borough seat of the North Slope Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska and is located north of the Arctic Circle. It is one of the northernmost public communities in the world and is the northernmost city in the United States. Nearby Point Barrow is the country's northernmost point. It is also the northernmost point of the entire American mainland landmass that begins at the very southernmost tip of South America. To go any further north, you would either have to venture into the icy expanse of the Arctic Ocean, or go to the islands of the Arctic Archipelago. Barrow’s population was 4,581 at the 2000 census and 4,212 at the 2010 census.World Eskimo Indian Olympics
The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (or WEIO) is an annual multi-sport event held over a four-day period beginning the 3rd Wednesday each July, designed to preserve cultural practices and traditional (survival) skills essential to life in circumpolar areas of the world. The WEIO features games or sports rooted in ancestral hunting and survival techniques employed by the Inuit, Iñupiat, Yupik, and other Native Americans, as well as dance storytelling competitions, and an annual cultural pageant, called Miss WEIO, that focuses on cultural knowledge.Yupik peoples
The Yupik () are a group of indigenous or aboriginal peoples of western, southwestern, and southcentral Alaska and the Russian Far East. They are Eskimo and are related to the Inuit and Iñupiat peoples. Yupik peoples include the following:
Alutiiq people, or Sugpiaq, of the Alaska Peninsula and coastal and island areas of southcentral Alaska
Central Alaskan Yup'ik people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta, the Kuskokwim River, and along the northern coast of Bristol Bay as far east as Nushagak Bay and the northern Alaska Peninsula at Naknek River and Egegik Bay in Alaska
Siberian Yupik people, including Naukan, Chaplino, and Sirenik of the Russian Far East and St. Lawrence Island in western Alaska
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