- A group of Indians who lived
on the Arctic Coast of North America. The Eskimo were dived into
three divisions - The Eastern, Central, and Western Eskimo. One branch
lived across the Bering Straits in Eastern Siberia.
Over this 5,000 mile spread of territory,
the largest occupied by any American indian group, customs differed in
many minor respects. Basically, however, the Eskimo were a hunting
and fishing people who lived on fish and sea mammals during the winter
months and hunted caribou and other game inland during the summer.
The Western Eskimo lived in dugouts, or pit houses , while the igloo or
dome shaped snow hut was used only by the Central Eskimo. The Eastern
Eskimo lived in huts made of driftwood or whale bone.
Their name is said to have come from the
Abnaki word esquimantsic or from the Chippewa word ashkimeq,
both of which mean "eaters of raw flesh." They called themselves
Inuit, which means "people." Of medium stature, the Eskimo
were strong and had great endurance. They had small hands and feet,
light brownish yellow skin, and "Mongolian" eyes.
They dressed in warm skins. Excellent
craftsman, they took great pride in decorating their hunting and fishing
gear, mad chiefly of bone and walrus tooth ivory. Their skin covered
kayaks were the most seaworthy boats of their kind and have been copied
by the white man. The Eskimo were a cheerful, peaceable, truthful,
and honest people. They lived partly on raw food, but also cooked
with oil lamps. Blubber, the fat of marine mammals, was considered
a delicacy, and was eaten raw.
The Eskimo of Alaska, members of the Western
Eskimo group are citizens of the United States.
within this Site
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