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The Inuit People iInuit A People Preserved By Icei Thousands of years ago during the last ice age mile-thick glaciers covered a vast portion of North America and the Asian continent was joined to North America by a land bridge The Arctic areas of Alaska Beringia and Siberia were free of ice Vast herds of caribou muskoxen and bison migrated to these plains Following them were the nomadic Asian ancestors of todays Inuit and Indians The doorway to Asia closed about three or four thousand years later as the glaciers receded and melted These people the Inuit meaning the people adapted to their harsh tundra environment and developed a culture that remained untainted for a long time The Inuit people relied solely on hunting for their existence With summers barely lasting two months agriculture was non-existent Animals such as caribou and seal were vital Groups of hunters would stalk and kill many caribou with fragile bows made of driftwood and their bounty was split evenly amongst the tribe Bone spears were fashioned to hunt seals which provided food oil clothes and tents The seal skins were also used to construct kayaks and other boats that the Inuit would use to travel and to hunt whales One advantage of the sterile cold of the arctic was that it kept these people free of disease until they met the white man Inuit tribes consisted of two to ten loosely joined families There was no one central leader in the group all decisions were made by the community as a whole Nor was there any definite set of laws the Inuit though usually cheery and optimistic were prone to uncontrolled bursts of rage Murder was common amongst them and it went unpunished unless an individuals murders occured too often At that point that person was deemed unstable and the community appointed a man to terminate himher In their society the duties of
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