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THE INUIT of the Arctic Regions Of Canada, Greenland, Russia & Alaska

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Author Topic: THE INUIT of the Arctic Regions Of Canada, Greenland, Russia & Alaska  (Read 7602 times)
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2009, 04:44:20 pm »

The division of labour in traditional society had a strong gender component, but it was not absolute.

The men were traditionally hunters and fishermen. The women took care of the children, cleaned huts, sewed, processed food, and cooked.

However, there are numerous examples of women who hunted out of necessity or as a personal choice. At the same time, men who could be away from camp for several days would be expected to know how to sew and cook.

The marital customs among the Inuit were not strictly monogamous: many Inuit relationships were implicitly or explicitly sexual. Open marriages, polygamy, divorce, and remarriage were fairly common.

Among some Inuit groups divorce required the approval of the community, if there were children, and particularly the agreement of the elders. Marriages were often arranged, sometimes in infancy, and occasionally forced on the couple by the community. Marriage was common for men when they became productive hunters, and for women at puberty.

Family structure was flexible: a household might consist of a man and his wife or wives and children;
it might include his parents or his wife's parents as well as adopted children; or it might be a larger formation of several siblings with their parents, wives and children; or even more than one family
sharing dwellings and resources. Every household had its head, an elder or a particularly respected

There was also a larger notion of community, generally several families who shared a place where
they wintered. Goods were shared within a household, and also to a significant extent within a
whole community.

The Inuit were hunter-gatherers, and have been referred to as nomadic.

It is mistakenly believed that they had no government, and had no conception of either private pro-
perty or ownership of land. In fact they had very sophisticated concepts of private property and of
land ownership that, as with their form of governance, was so drastically different than the Western concepts understood by European observers that the existence of such went entirely undocumented until well into the 20th century.
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