In Canada, the First Nations are the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle. Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit; the Métis, another distinct ethnicity, developed after European contact and relations between First Nations people and Europeans. There are 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. Under the Employment Equity Act, First Nations are a "designated group", along with women, visible minorities, people with physical or mental disabilities. First Nations are not defined as a visible minority under the Act or by the criteria of Statistics Canada. North American indigenous; some of their oral traditions describe historical events, such as the Cascadia earthquake of 1700 and the 18th-century Tseax Cone eruption. Written records began with the arrival of European explorers and colonists during the Age of Discovery, beginning in the late 15th century.
European accounts by trappers, traders and missionaries give important evidence of early contact culture. In addition and anthropological research, as well as linguistics, have helped scholars piece together an understanding of ancient cultures and historic peoples. Although not without conflict, Euro-Canadians' early interactions with First Nations, Métis, Inuit populations were less combative compared to the violent battles between colonists and native peoples in the United States. Collectively, First Nations, Métis peoples constitute Indigenous peoples in Canada, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, or first peoples. First Nation as a term became used beginning in 1980s to replace the term Indian band in referring to groups of Indians with common government and language; the term had come into common usage in the 1970s to avoid using the word Indian, which some Canadians considered offensive. No legal definition of the term exists; some indigenous peoples in Canada have adopted the term First Nation to replace the word band in the formal name of their community.
A band is a "body of Indians for whose use and benefit in common lands... have been set apart... moneys are held... or declared... to be a band for the purposes of" the Indian Act by the Canadian Crown. The term Indian is a misnomer given to indigenous peoples of North America by European explorers who erroneously thought they had landed on the Indian subcontinent; the use of the term Native Americans, which the US government and others have adopted, is not common in Canada. It refers more to the Indigenous peoples residing within the boundaries of the United States; the parallel term Native Canadian is not used, but Native and autochtone are. Under the Royal Proclamation of 1763 known as the "Indian Magna Carta," the Crown referred to indigenous peoples in British territory as tribes or nations; the term First Nations is capitalized. Bands and nations may have different meanings. Within Canada, First Nations has come into general use for indigenous peoples other than Inuit and Métis. Individuals using the term outside Canada include U.
S. tribes within the Pacific Northwest, as well as supporters of the Cascadian independence movement. The singular used on culturally politicized reserves, is the term First Nations person. A more recent trend is for members of various nations to refer to themselves by their tribal or national identity only, e.g. "I'm Haida". For pre-history, see: Paleo-Indians and Archaic periods First Nations by linguistic-cultural area: List of First Nations peoplesFirst Nations peoples had settled and established trade routes across what is now Canada by 1,000 BC to 500 BC. Communities developed, each with its own culture and character. In the northwest were the Athapaskan-speaking peoples, Slavey, Tłı̨chǫ, Tutchone-speaking peoples, Tlingit. Along the Pacific coast were the Haida, Kwakiutl, Nuu-chah-nulth, Nisga'a and Gitxsan. In the plains were the Blackfoot, Kainai and Northern Peigan. In the northern woodlands were the Chipewyan. Around the Great Lakes were the Anishinaabe, Algonquin and Wyandot. Along the Atlantic coast were the Beothuk, Innu and Micmac.
The Blackfoot Confederacies reside in the Great Plains of Montana and Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The name "Blackfoot" came from the colour of the peoples' leather footwear, known as moccasins, they had painted the bottoms of their moccasins black. One account claimed that the Blackfoot Confederacies walked through the ashes of prairie fires, which in turn coloured the bottoms of their moccasins black, they had migrated onto the Great Plains from the Plateau area. The Blackfoot may have lived in their homeland since the end of the Pleistocene 11,000 years ago.. For thousands of years, they managed the prairie to support bison herds and cultivated berries and edible roots, they allowed only legitimate traders into their territory, making treaties only when the bison herds were exterminated in the 1870s. The Squamish history is a series of past events, both passed on through oral tradition and recent history, of the Squamish indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.
Prior to colonization, they recorded their history through oral tradition as a way to transmit stories and knowledge across generations. This was common among all the peoples; the writing system esta
The Gwichʼin are an Athabaskan-speaking First Nations people of Canada and an Alaska Native people. They live in the northwestern part of North America above the Arctic Circle. Gwichʼin are well known for their crafting of snowshoes, birchbark canoes, the two-way sled, they are renowned for their ornate beadwork. They continue to make traditional caribou-skin clothing and porcupine quillwork embroidery, both of which are regarded among Gwichʼin. Today the economy is a mix of hunting and seasonal wage-paying employment, their name is sometimes spelled Kutchin or Gwitchin and translates as "one who dwells" or "resident of." The French called the Gwichʼin Loucheux, as well as the Tukudh, a term used by Anglican missionaries. Gwichʼin refer to themselves by the term Dinjii Zhuu instead of Gwichʼin. Dinjii Zhuu translates as "Small People," but figuratively it refers to all First Nations, not just Gwichʼin; the Gwichʼin language, part of the Athabaskan language family, has two main dialects and western, which are delineated at the United States-Canada border.
Each village has unique dialect differences and expressions. The Old Crow people in the northern Yukon have the same dialect as those bands living in Venetie and Arctic Village, Alaska. 300 Alaskan Gwichʼin speak their language, according to the Alaska Native Language Center. However, according to the UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, Gwichʼin is now a "severely endangered" language, with fewer than 150 fluent speakers in Alaska and another 250 in northwest Canada. Innovative language revitalization projects are underway to document the language and to enhance the writing and translation skills of younger Gwichʼin speakers. In one project lead research associate and fluent speaker Gwichʼin elder, Kenneth Frank, works with linguists which include young Gwichʼin speakers affiliated with the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, to document traditional knowledge of caribou anatomy; the many different bands or tribes of Gwichʼin include but are not limited to: Deenduu, Draanjik, Di'haii, Gwichyaa, Kʼiitlʼit, Neetsaii or Neetsʼit, Danzhit Hanlaii, Teetlʼit, Vuntut or Vantee.
Three major clans survive from antiquity across Gwichʼin lands. Two are primary clans and the third has a lower/secondary status; the first clan are the Nantsaii, which translates as "First on the land", the second clan are the Chitsʼyaa which translates as "The helpers". The last clan is called the Tenjeraatsaii, which translates as "In the middle" or "independents"; this last clan is reserved for people who marry within their own clan, considered incestual. To a lesser degree, it is for children of people. In ancient times this would refer to the children of Naaʼin, people who were expelled from the tribe due to committing a crime, it applied to the children of mothers who fell outside of the clan system. Prior to 1900, being a Tenjeraatsaii automatically placed a Gwichʼin at the third-lowest rung of the social ladder, they were to some degree ostracized. The second-lowest rung was reserved for war-captured slaves; the lowest social status was that of bushman. The clan system is no longer well used among the Gwichʼin.
9,000 Gwichʼin live in 15 small communities in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory of Canada, in northern Alaska. Gwichʼin communities include: Alaska Arctic Village Beaver Birch Creek Chalkyitsik Circle Fort Yukon Venetie Northwest Territories Aklavik Fort McPherson Inuvik Tsiigehtchic Yukon Old Crow The Gwichʼin have a strong oral tradition of storytelling that has only begun to be written in the modern orthography. Gwichʼin folk stories include the "Vazaagiitsak cycle", which focuses on the comical adventures of a Gwichʼin misfit who, among other things, battles lice on a giant's head, plays the fool to the cunning fox, eats the scab from his own anus unknowingly. Gwichʼin comedies contain bawdy humor. Other major characters from the Gwichʼin oral tradition include: Googhwaii, Ool Ti', Tł'oo Thal, K'aiheenjik, K'iizhazhal, Shaanyaati'. Numerous folk tales about prehistoric times all begin with the phrase Deenaadai', which translates as "In the ancient days"; this is followed with the admission that this was "when all of the people could talk to the animals, all of the animals could speak with the people".
These stories are parables, which suggest a proper protocol, or code of behavior for Gwichʼin. Equality, hard work, mercy, cooperation for mutual success, just revenge are the themes of stories such as: "Tsyaa Too Oozhrii Gwizhit", "Zhoh Ts'à Nahtryaa", "Vadzaih Luk Hàa". In recent times, important figures in who have represented traditional belief structures are: Johnny and Sarah Frank, Ch'eegwalti'. Caribou are an integral part of First Nations and Inuit oral histories and legends including the Gwichʼin creation story o
The Iñupiat are native Alaskan people, whose traditional territory spans Norton Sound on the Bering Sea to the Canada–United States border. Their current communities include seven Alaskan villages in the North Slope Borough, affiliated with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. Iñupiat Inyupik, is the plural form of the name for the people and the name of their language; the singular form is Iñupiaq, which sometimes refers to the language. Iñupiak 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. Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Bering Straits Native Corporation NANA Regional Corporation. Inupiat now speak only two native languages: 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. Along with other Inuit groups, the Iñupiaq originate from the Thule culture. Circa 1000 B. C. the Thule migrated from islands in the Bering Sea to. Iñupiaq groups, in common with Inuit-speaking groups have a name ending in "miut," which means'a people of'. One example is a generic term for inland Iñupiaq caribou hunters. During a period of starvation and an influenza epidemic 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. The Iditarod Trail's antecedents were the native trails of the Dena'ina and Deg Hit'an Athabaskan Indians and the Inupiaq Eskimos. Iñupiat people are hunter-gatherers. Iñupiat people continue to rely on subsistence hunting and fishing. Depending on their location, they harvest walrus, whale, polar bears and fish. Both the inland and coastal Iñupiat depend on fish. Throughout the seasons when they are available food staples include ducks, rabbits, berries and shoots; the inland Iñupiat hunt caribou, dall sheep, grizzly bear, moose. The coastal Iñupiat hunt walrus, beluga whales, bowhead whales. Cautiously, polar bear is hunted; 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. City-dwelling relatives, thousands of miles away, are entitled to a share of each whale killed by the hunters of their ancestral village. Maktak, 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, 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 mix the berries with rosehips and highbush cranberries and boil them into a syrup. Traditionally, different Iñupiat people lived in sedentary communities; 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 and other traditional foods. 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, Utqiagvik, Nuiqsut, Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright Northwest Arctic Borough: Ambler, Deering, Kian
The Yup'ik or Yupiaq and Yupiit or Yupiat Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Central Yup'ik, Alaskan Yup'ik, are an Eskimo people of western and southwestern Alaska ranging from southern Norton Sound southwards along the coast of the Bering Sea on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta 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. They are known as Cup'ik by the Chevak Cup'ik dialect-speaking Eskimos of Chevak and Cup'ig for the Nunivak Cup'ig dialect-speaking Eskimo of Nunivak Island. Both Chevak Cup'ik and Nunivak Cup'ig Eskimos are known as Cup'ik; the Yup'ik, Cup'ik, Cup'ig speakers can converse without difficulty, the regional population is described using the larger term of Yup'ik. They are one of the four Yupik peoples of Alaska and Siberia related to the Sugpiaq ~ Alutiiq of south-central Alaska, the Siberian Yupik of St. Lawrence Island and Russian Far East, the Naukan of Russian Far East; the Yupiit speak the Yup'ik language.
Of a total population of about 21,000 people, about 10,000 speak the language. The Yup'ik Eskimo combine a contemporary and a traditional subsistence lifestyle in a blend unique to the Southwest Alaska. Today, the Yup'ik work and live in western style but still hunt and fish in traditional subsistence ways and gather traditional foods. Most Yup'ik people still speak the native language and bilingual education has been in force since the 1970s; the Yupiit are the most numerous of the various Alaska Native groups and speak the Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, a member of the Eskimo–Aleut family of languages. As of the 2000 U. S. Census, the Yupiit population in the United States numbered over 24,000, of whom over 22,000 lived in Alaska; the vast majority of these live in the seventy or so communities in the traditional Yup'ik territory of western and southwestern Alaska. As of the 2010 U. S. Census, the Yup'ik at 34,000 people is the largest Alaska Native tribal grouping, either alone or in combination followed by the Inupiat.
The Yup'ik had the greatest number of people who identified with one tribal grouping and no other race. In that census, nearly half of American Indians and Alaska Natives identified as being of mixed race; the neighbours of the Yup'ik Eskimos are the Iñupiaq Eskimo to the north, Aleutized Alutiiq ~ Sugpiaq Eskimos to the south, Alaskan Athabaskans, such as Yup'ikized Holikachuk and Deg Hit'an, non-Yup'ikized Koyukon and Dena'ina, to the east. The form Yup'ik was used in the northern area while the form Yupiaq was used in the southern area. Certain places had other forms; the form Yup'ik is now used as a common term. Yup'ik comes from the Yup'ik word yuk meaning "person" plus the postbase -pik or -piaq meaning "real" or "genuine"; the ethnographic literature sometimes refers to the Yup ` ik people or their language as Yuit. In the Hooper Bay-Chevak and Nunivak dialects of Yup'ik, both the language and the people are given the name Cup'ik; the use of an apostrophe in the name "Yup'ik", compared to Siberian "Yupik", exemplifies the Central Yup'ik's orthography.
"The apostrophe represents gemination of the'p' sound". The names given to them by their neighbors: Alutiiq ~ Sugpiaq: Pamana'rmiu'aq, Pamanirmiuq Deg Xinag Athabaskan: Dodz xit'an, Novogh xit'an Holikachuk Athabaskan: Namagh hit'an Koyukon Athabaskan: Nobaagha hut'aankkaa Dena'ina Athabaskan: Dutna, Naghelghazhna Upper Kuskokwim Athabaskan: Dodina sg Dodinayu pl The common ancestors of the Eskimo and the Aleut are believed by archaeologists to have their origin in eastern Siberia. Migrating east, they reached the Bering Sea area about 10,000 years ago. Research on blood types and linguistics suggests that the ancestors of American Indians reached North America in waves of migration before the ancestors of the Eskimo and Aleut; this causeway became exposed between 8,000 years ago during periods of glaciation. By about 3,000 years ago the progenitors of the Yupiit had settled along the coastal areas of what would become western Alaska, with migrations up the coastal rivers—notably the Yukon and Kuskokwim—around 1400 C.
E. reaching as far upriver as Paimiut on the Yukon and Crow Village on the Kuskokwim. The Russian colonization of the Americas lasted from 1732 to 1867; the Russian Empire supported ships traveling from Siberia to America for whaling and fishing expeditions. The crews established hunting and trading posts of the Shelikhov-Golikov Company in the Aleutian Islands and northern Alaska indigenous settlements.. Half of the fur traders were Russians, such as promyshlenniki from various European parts of the Russian Empire or from Siberia. Grigory Shelikhov led attacks on Kodiak Island against the indigenous Alutiiq in 1784, known as the Awa'uq Massacre. According to some estimates, Russian employees of the trading company killed more than 2,000 Alutiiq; the company took over control of the island. By the late 1790s, its trading posts had become the centers of permanent settlements of Russian America
Haida are a nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Haida Gwaii and the Haida language. Haida language, an isolate language, has been spoken across Haida Gwaii and certain islands on the Alaska Panhandle, where it has been spoken for at least 14,000 years. Prior to the 19th century, Haida would speak a number of coastal First Nations languages such as Lingít, Nisg̱a'a and Sm'álgyax. After settlers' arrival and colonisation of the Haida through residential schools, few Haida speak X̱aayda/X̱aad kíl, though there are many efforts to revive the language; the Haida national government, the Council of the Haida Nation, is based in the archipelago of Haida Gwaii in northern British Columbia, Canada. A group known as the Kaigani Haida live across the international border of the Dixon Entrance on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska, United States; the Kaigani Haida migrated there in the late 18th century. Haida have occupied Haida Gwaii since at least 14,000 BP. Pollen fossils and oral histories both confirm that Haida ancestors were present when the first tree, a Lodgepole pine, arrived at SG̱uuluu Jaads Saahlawaay, the westernmost of the Swan Islands located in Gwaii Haanas.
In British Columbia, the term "Haida Nation" can refer both to Haida people as a whole and their government, the Council of the Haida Nation. While all people of Haida ancestry are entitled to Haida citizenship, the Kaigani are part of the Central Council Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska government; the Haida language has sometimes been classified as one of the Na-Dene group, but is considered to be an isolate. Haida society continues to produce a robust and stylized art form, a leading component of Northwest Coast art. While artists have expressed this in large wooden carvings, Chilkat weaving, or ornate jewellery, in the 21st century, younger people are making art in popular expression such as Haida manga. In June 2017, the first feature-length Haida-language film, The Edge of the Knife, was in production with an all-Haida cast; the actors learned some Haida for their performances in the film. Gwaii Edenshaw is the co-screenwriter. Traditional Haida territory spans the current international boundary between British Columbia and Alaska, United States.
Their heartland is the two large and many smaller islands known as Haida Gwaii, which means "island of the people" in Haida. This archipelago was surveyed in 1787 by Captain George Dixon of the British Navy, who named them after one of his ships, the Queen Charlotte, in turn named after Charlotte, queen consort of George III of the United Kingdom; the name "Queen Charlotte Islands" was subsequently "given back" to the Crown in a ceremony between the British Columbia government and the Council of the Haida Nation. Haida live in Southeast Alaska on the southern half of Prince of Wales Island in communities such as Hydaburg, in large cities elsewhere in the region such as Ketchikan. Haida live in various cities in mainland British Columbia and the western United States; the Haida are known for their craftsmanship, trading skills, seamanship. They are thought to practise slavery. Canadian Museum of Civilization anthropologist Diamond Jenness has compared the tribe to Vikings. Oral histories and archaeological evidence indicate that the Haida have occupied Haida Gwaii for more than 17,000 years.
In that time they have established an intimate connection with the islands' lands and oceans, established structured societies, constructed many villages. The Haida have occupied present-day southern Alaska for more than the last 200 years, the modern group having emigrated from Haida Gwaii in the 18th century; the Haida conducted regular trade with Russian, Spanish and American fur traders and whalers. According to sailing records, they diligently maintained strong trade relationships with Westerners, coastal people, among themselves. Like other groups on the Northwest Coast, the Haida defended themselves with fortifications, including palisades and platforms, they took to water in large ocean-going canoes, each created from a single Western red cedar tree, big enough to accommodate as many as 60 paddlers. The aggressive tribe were feared in sea battles, although they did respect rules of engagement in their conflicts; the Haida developed effective weapons for boat-based battle, including a special system of stone rings weighing 18 to 23 kg which could destroy an enemy's dugout canoe and be reused after the attacker pulled it back with the attached cedar bark rope.
The Haida took captives from defeated enemies. Between 1780 and 1830, the Haida turned their aggression towards American traders. Among the half-dozen ships the tribe captured were the Susan Sturgis; the tribe made use of the weapons they so acquired, using canoe-mounted swivel guns. In 1856, an expedition in search of a route across Vancouver Island was at the mouth of the Qualicum River when they observed a large fleet of Haida canoes approaching and hid in the forest, they observed these attackers holding human heads. When the explorers reached the mouth of the river, they came upon the charred remains of the village of the Qualicum people and the mutilated bodies of its inhabitants, with only one survivor, an elderly woman, hiding terrified inside a tree stump. In 1857, the USS Massachusetts was sent from Seattle to nearby Port Gamble, where indigenous raiding parties made up of Haida and
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Greenland 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 States, the term "Eskimo" was 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, "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, they more 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 and NunatuKavut in Labrador, in various parts of the Northwest Territories around the Arctic Ocean.
These areas are known in the Inuktitut language as the "Inuit Nunangat". In the United States, the Iñupiat live 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. Inuit are the descendants of what anthropologists call the Thule people, who emerged from western Alaska around 1000 CE, they had split from the related Aleut group about 4000 years ago and from northeastern Siberian migrants related to the Chukchi language group, still earlier, descended from the third major migration from Siberia. They spread eastwards across the Arctic, they displaced the related Dorset culture, called the Tuniit in Inuktitut, the last major Paleo-Eskimo culture. Inuit legends speak of the Tuniit as people who were taller and stronger than the Inuit. Less the legends refer to the Dorset as "dwarfs". Researchers believe that Inuit society had advantages by having adapted to using dogs as transport animals, developing larger weapons and other technologies superior to those of the Dorset culture.
By 1300, Inuit migrants had reached west Greenland. During the next century, they settled in East Greenland Faced with population pressures from the Thule and other surrounding groups, such as the Algonquian and Siouan-speaking peoples to the south, the Tuniit receded; the Tuniit were thought to have become extinct as a people by about 1400 or 1500. But, in the mid-1950s, researcher Henry B. Collins determined that, based on the ruins found at Native Point, the Sadlermiut were the last remnants of the Dorset culture, or Tuniit; the Sadlermiut population survived up until winter 1902–03, when exposure to new infectious diseases brought by contact with Europeans led to their extinction as a people. In the early 21st century, mitochondrial DNA research has supported the theory of continuity between the Tuniit and the Sadlermiut peoples, it provided evidence that a population displacement did not occur within the Aleutian Islands between the Dorset and Thule transition. In contrast to other Tuniit populations, the Aleut and Sadlermiut benefited from both geographical isolation and their ability to adopt certain Thule technologies.
In Canada and Greenland, Inuit circulated exclusively north of the "arctic tree line", the effective southern border of Inuit society. The most southern "officially recognized" Inuit community in the world is Rigolet in Nunatsiavut. South of Nunatsiavut, the descendants of the southern Labrador Inuit in NunatuKavut continued their traditional transhumant semi-nomadic way of life until the mid-1900s; the Nunatukavummuit people moved among islands and bays on a seasonal basis. They did not establish stationary communities. In other areas south of the tree line, non-Inuit indigenous cultures were well established; the culture and technology of Inuit society that served so well in the Arctic were not suited to subarctic regions, so they did not displace their southern neighbors. Inuit had trade relations with more southern cultures. Warfare was not uncommon among those Inuit groups with sufficient population density. Inuit such as the Nunamiut, who inhabited the Mackenzie River delta area engaged in warfare.
The more sparsely settled Inuit in the Central Arctic, did so less often. Their first European contact was with the Vikings who settled in Greenland and explored the eastern Canadian coast; the sagas recorded meeting skrælingar an undifferentiated label for all the indigenous peoples whom the Norse encountered, whether Tuniit, Inuit, or Beothuk. After about 1350, the climate grew colder during the period known as the Little Ice Age. During this period, Alaskan natives were able to continue their whaling activities. But, in the high Arctic, the Inuit were forced to abandon their hunting and whaling sites as bowhead whales disappeared from Canada and Greenland; these Inuit had to subsist on a much poorer diet, lost access to the essential raw materials for their tools and architecture which they had derived from whaling. The changing climate forced the Inuit to work their way south, pushing them into marginal niches along the edges of the tree line; these were areas which Native Americans had not occupied or where they were weak enough for the Inuit to live near them.
Researchers have difficulty defining when Inuit stopped this territorial
Shamanism among Alaska Natives
Alaskan Natives have a special connection to the land around them, a kinship with the animals with whom they share that land. Before the introduction of western culture and the religions that are now practiced in Alaska, there was a common spiritual connection made with the people to the land they occupied; the most common name for this connection is shamanism. Shamanism differs in every culture where it is practiced, in Alaska it is centered in the animals that are common in the area. Through the use of many myths and ceremonies these animals are personified and their spirits made tangible and in turn are woven within the Native Alaskan people today, it was through the shaman that the spirit world was connected to the natural world. A shaman in Alaskan Native culture was a mediator and the spirit worlds’ mouthpiece. Although shamanism is no longer popularly practiced, it was and continues, to be the heart of the Native Alaskan people; the religion of the former Aleuts was an offshoot of the prevailing shamanistic beliefs common to the northern Eskimo and to the tribes of northeastern Asia.
They believed in the existence of a creator of everything visible and invisible, but did not connect him with the guidance of the world, paid him no special worship. As rulers of their entire environment, they acknowledged two spirits, or kinds of spirits,who determined the fate of man in every respect; the earliest Aleuts worshiped light, the celestial bodies, the elements. They believed that there were three worlds, to which they ascribed being and action; the first world, highest world, has no night or evening, many people live there. The second, or middle world, is the earth; the third is subterranean and called lowest world. The aboriginal Aleuts had no temples or idols, but there were holy or forbidden localities known as awabayabax. Here they made offerings to invisible spirits; such holy places were found in every village, being a mound, or some prominent place or a crag, which women and young men were prohibited from visiting, from gathering the grasses for their basketry, or taking away stones.
If any young person, either from audacity or curiosity, violated this restriction, such infraction was sure to be followed by terrible "wild" disease, speedy death, or at least insanity. Old men could visit these spots at certain times, but only for the purpose of making offerings. Among the past-tie Aleuts were both shamans and shamanism, they were considered to be the intermediaries between the visible and invisible worlds, between men and spirits, the Aleuts believed they were acquainted with demonology and could foretell the future and aid sufferers. And though they were not professional obstetricians, yet as magicians their services were in request in cases of difficult childbirth. Shamans were the aboriginal specialists in dealing with the supernatural, they cured the sick, foretold the future, brought success in hunting and warfare, performed other similar tasks. The old Aleuts related that long before the advent of the Russians, the shamans predicted that White men with strange customs would come to them from beyond the edge of the sea, that subsequently all Aleuts would become like the new arrivals and live according to their habits.
They saw, looking far into the future, a brilliant redness in the sky like a great new world, called arialiyaiyam akxa, containing many people resembling the newcomers. Aleuts believed that death stemmed from both natural and supernatural causes; the dead were treated in a range of ways, including mummification and cave burial of high-ranking men and children, burial in special stone and wooden burial structures, interment in small holes in the ground adjacent to habitations. Spirits of deceased individuals continued to "live", although details of any notion of an afterlife or of reincarnation are scanty. Prior to contact, Aleut ceremonies were held in the winter. Through singing, dancing and wearing masks, the people entertained themselves and honored deceased relatives. Social rank was bolstered through bestowal of gifts. Today, Aleut ceremonies are those of the Russian Orthodox Church; the shaman within this culture was the middle woman/man between spirits and the native peoples. Alaskan Athabaskan shamans guarded people against the effects of bad spirits.
The shaman diagnosed various illnesses and restored the health of those harmed by bad spirits. The shaman could provide the valuable service of scapulimancy, which predicted the location of game when hunting was scarce. An infamous bad spirit was the Giyeg; the belief was that people became sick because Giyeg thought about them. The shaman`s job was to distract Giyeg or else the person died. Another well-known bad spirit was the Nahani AKA the woodsmen; the woodsman was believed to be the spirit of people who got lost in the woods. The human spirit was called the Yega and upon death, the Yega had to be properly guided to the afterlife. Athabaskans believed that human and animals were similar in the past and their spirits communicated directly. If an animal was mistreated its respective spirit would wrack havoc on the lives of the offending Athabaskan; the lines of communication between spirits and Native Athabaskans were kept open using the shaman to translate. There are still spiritual beliefs about the connection between animals and humans prevalent in the Athabaskan culture.
The raven is the most popular animal followed by the caribou and bear. Ceremonies were designated to protect, heal or cleanse; the energy generated by the people and more the shaman dictated the connection with the spirits and effectiveness of results. A popular after-death ceremony being a potlatch, allowed for the shaman to offer a smooth transition to the yega