Inuit

Inuit are a circumpolar people, inhabiting regions in Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland, united by a common culture and language. There are approximately 55,000 Inuit living in Canada. Inuit live primarily in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and northern parts of Quebec and coastal Labrador. They have traditionally lived for the most part north of the treeline in the area bordered by the Mackenzie Delta in the west, the Labrador coast in the east, the southern point of Hudson Bay in the south, and the High Arctic islands in the north.

The Indian Act does not cover Inuit. However, in 1939, the Supreme Court of Canada interpreted the federal government’s power to make laws affecting “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians” as extending to Inuit.

The Indian Act does not cover Inuit. However, in 1939, the Supreme Court of Canada interpreted the federal government’s power to make laws affecting “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians” as extending to Inuit.

Inuk – Inuk is the singular form of Inuit. Use Inuk when referring to one person. When referring to two people, the correct term is Inuuk while three or more is Inuit.

Inuktitut – Inuit have a strong cultural identity, including usage of traditional languages. For example, 70 per cent of Inuit can carry on a conversation in Inuktitut—the Inuit language. In the eastern Arctic and Nunavik, Inuktitut is the language people read, speak and use on a daily basis. Languages spoken by Inuit comprise a number of dialects, some of which are not easily comprehensible by Inuit in other regions.

Written Inuktitut utilizes either a system of syllabics (called Qaniuyaapiat) or, in the western Arctic, the Kitikmeot region and Nunatsiavut, Roman Orthography (called Qaliuyaapait). The dialect of Inuktitut in the Inuvialuit region is called Inuvialuktun. In the Kitikmeot region, Inuinaqtun is spoken.

The word Inuit means “the people” in Inuktitut and is the term by which Inuit refer to themselves. Avoid using the term ‘Inuit people’ as it is redundant. The term Eskimo is considered derogatory and should not be used. In Alaska, Inuit are referred to as Alaska Natives.

Inuit is acceptable as both a noun and modifier. According to the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the preferred use of Inuit as a noun is simply Inuit, not the Inuit.

X As hunters, the Inuit people led a seasonal existence, living according to nature’s schedule.
√ As hunters, Inuit led a seasonal existence, living according to nature’s schedule.

Communities and Settlements – IInuit live in communities and settlements. Inuit never lived on reserves, therefore the terms on-reserve and off-reserve do not apply to Inuit, only to First Nations. Wording that is supposed to cover all Aboriginal communities—for example, a reference to people living on a reserve, off a reserve or in urban areas—must add in Inuit communities in order to be inclusive of Inuit living in the North.

There are four Inuit comprehensive land claims regions covering more than one-third of Canada: the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik in northern Quebec, and Nunatsiavut in Labrador. Nunavut has three subregions—Kitikmeot, Kivalliq and Qikiqtani—which are called regions. These are not referred to as Inuit Regions nor Inuit Territories