Inuit people are the original inhabitants of the North American Arctic. They occupied a distance of 6000 kilometers from Bering Strait to East Greenland. They also occupy a portion of Arctic Canada. Part of the inhabitants occupies Northern Alaska and Greenland. They have intermarried with the Russians. Inuit share a common cultural heritage and language. The Inuit have been referred to as Eskimo for a long time, but they currently identify themselves as Inuit' whose simple translation is people.' The population of Inuit in Canada is approximately 40,000 (Pelaudeix 164).
Archeological research informs that the Inuit originated from northwestern Alaska. The native Inuit in Alaska lived on the seacoast and Tundra. They used to hunt whales and seals for food. The nature of their houses was made of driftwood and sod. Research indicates that they might have been speaking the native version of the Inuit language known as Inuktitut. The Inuit in Alaska is reported to have become the first successful hunters of large sea mammals like the bowhead whale. Hunting skills meant increased food security and hence a richer way of life.
About a thousand years ago the early Inuit began to migrate, and they spread east to Arctic Canada. In a few centuries, Inuit had replaced other native inhabitants in the region. A group known as Tunit to the Inuit is now extinct probably through assimilation. Around AD1250 Inuit had started entering Greenland through the Smith Sound area. They met the Vikings, who were hunters who later disappeared. Some theories suggest the disappearance was due to the deteriorating climate majorly although theories explain other reasons. By the 16th century, the Inuit were the sole owners of the entire North American Arctic.
The Inuit are believed to have survived the harsh climate in Greenland because they were better adapted to the environment. However, though they survived the climate, it was a blow to their economy (Kishigami 73). Around 1300, the climate got progressively colder. The ice climate lasted to about 1500. The Inuit were forced to abandon the rich hunting harbors and migrate towards the south. Having lost their reliable source of food, life became more strenuous for the Inuit. They had no reliable economy and feeding was now a difficult task. People migrated more frequently. The whalebone and old sod winter houses were abandoned because there were no construction resources. It was easier to construct houses of snow blocks because the houses could be constructed anywhere in less time.
Currently, the Inuit live in Canada. They collectively own a considerable area of the Arctic outright. Inuit have substantial political power in their territories. They formed Nunat, through which, the Inuit plays an important role in Canada. The Inuit faces economic challenges due to the underdeveloped economy. Additionally, there are no sufficient employment opportunities. It is a challenge that many people among the Inuit do not have the formal education nor the skills required to fit in the competitive job market today.
America: History of Our Nation Earliest Americans
The United States of America Republic is the world's 3rd biggest country in both population and geographic area. The capital city of the United States is Washington, D.C. New York City is the largest. The United States of America has a population of 295,734,000 people, according to the 2005 census. Approximately 79% or more of the United States population live in urban areas. The people of the United States are of different cultures. Although English is the national language, most people learn it as a second language. The population is multicultural, multi-racial, and bi-lingual. The largest group has a population of up to 12.5% who are Hispanic (Radcliffe-Brown 530).
African-Americans constitute 12.3% of the population among others. The United States law allows freedom of worship. Christianity is the largest practiced religion. The education system is under the state governments. There is a free primary and secondary school program.
Economically, the United States has abundant ores of minerals. Agriculture is also a huge economic resource. In the past, the country had achieved a self-sufficiency state. However, imbalance set in due to increased consumption, particularly of energy which leaves the country dependent on importation. The U.S is the leading country in tourism and had the highest economic growth in 2006 It was the largest economy in the world with about $13trillion (Radcliffe-Brown 533). The mode of governance in the United States is the federal republic, which is provided for by the United States' constitution. Federal governments work hand in hand and are subordinate to the state government. The United States was colonized mainly by three powerful sources, namely England (who was a major player), Spain, and France.
Political Comparison of Inuit and the United States
In the 1940s the Inuit life had changed considerably, previously there was no real chief or leader among the Inuit (Pelaudeix 173). The family was the most basic and most important unit of society. People hunted in a family or as a group of families. Food and other resources were considered communal, and members had the responsibility of sharing them and protecting communal wealth. Americans are a multicultural society. In the United States, there are many different groups. The groups have different cultural practices. In most cases, the groups have different ethnic languages. Most people in America learn English as their binary language while the Inuit is an ethnic group that shares a common culture and language.
During World War II and later in the cold war, the presence of Canadian governance saw the first settlement program. The Inuit gave in to the government project that moved them from their traditional camps into larger settlements that were permanent. The government provided regular communal health checkups, and formal education became a way of life. As a result, the population increased. On the other hand, In America, the government system is through federal governments. States are independently ruled, though with loyalty paid to the state government
The American people in a state have the power to make their laws through representative democracy. When compared, the Inuit were entirely dependent on the Canadian government for about three decades after they were settled in permanent homes. The Inuit were dependent on the government to educate their children as well as treat them when they fell sick.
Comparing Gender between Inuit and United States
Gender is defined as the list of characters that society uses to define and categorize a person into either masculinity or femininity. However, there are cases when a person does not seem to fit in the given category of either feminine or masculine. According to (Yarbrough 216) many societies recognize this fact and have accepted it as a reality throughout history.
In Native America, the existence of third, fourth, or fifth genders has been recognized and documented for a long time. Documents show that children who did not seem to identify with their sex either male or female were encouraged to live their life in the gender role they best fit in. The Europeans referred to this as Berdache, seen as the person who used to be defined spiritually where they would perform societal roles for women and yet be allowed to have male/male relationships. The Berdache would identify with the women, gender regarding clothing, the work they would do, and be associated with the ladies in the society. They would marry a man, and they had the privilege to be involved more in the spiritual and ritual of the tribe. Traditionally the Berdache was defined by their generosity and spirituality rather than their sexuality and their gender roles. Their roles were regarded with respect. Among the Inuit, the family unit was greatly valued since it was the determinant of reproduction for future generations (Yarbrough 219). Children were therefore socialized to adapt their gender-assigned roles. Women play a very crucial role in the survival of society. There was a division of labor between the male and female gender. The roles were considered equally important. Women were respected, but they did not share power or influence. A man was considered the head of the family. He had to prove he was capable of feeding and protecting a family before he could be allowed to marry.
The Inuit women would be offered sex to male visitors as a sign of generosity. Men were supposed to hunt and fish to feed their families. Women were given the responsibility to be nurturers symbolized by a lamp or hearth. It was the responsibility of women to distribute food to families since life was communal.
Kinship Comparison between of Inuit and United States
Kinships are patterns of society that define a social life and regarding the relationships or studying the patterns of relationships either within a culture or among different cultures. The kinship tie includes people bound to each other or a group through blood known as descent group. The other kinship tie is formed through marriage bonds, which are known as affinity. Depending on the community a person or group of individuals whom a person or a group has economic or political affiliations or the social connection may be considered members of a kinship relationship.
What Are Different Types of Kinships?
Majorly there are three broad types of kinship ties, including primary kins, secondary and tertiary kins.
By the virtue of being born into a family, the members of the family become a person's primary kins. Therefore, there is a possibility of up to eight primary kins including; husband younger- elder brother, and sister-brother.
When using the extended family, a person can have up to 33 types of secondary kin relationships. For example, brother's wife or father's brother.
Tertiary kins are the secondary kins of a member of a person's primary kin. For example a sister's husband or a father's sister. These deeply webbed kinships existed among the Inuit. To them, a family was a part of the bigger communal family. A person would be raised in adoption, but the child would grow up in touch with the biological parents and relatives as well as the family where he/she was adopted. Among the Americans, kinship is considered only with the bilateral descent as well as the nuclear family (Radcliffe-Brown 535). Monogamy marriages are practiced. They have a narrower range of kinship compared to Inuit.
In summary, the cultural practices of Inuit and America in were the United States have both similarities and differences. The most important point to learn is that culture is subject to change and depending on the situation of society, culture can be changed to adapt better to the changes in the environment.
Kishigami, Nobuhiro. "Homeless Inuit In Montreal." Etudes/Inuit/Studies 32.1 (2008): 73. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.
Pelaudeix, Cecile. "Inuit Governance And Contemporary Challenges: New Questions For Arctic Governance." The Yearbook of Polar Law Online 4.1 (2012): 155-188. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.
Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. "Kinship Terminologies In California." American Anthropologist 37.3 (1935): 530-535. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.
Yarbrough, Fay A. "Negotiating Gender In Native North America". Journal of Women's History 26.1 (2014): 211-221. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.
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