Are There Still Eskimos?
For many northern-arctic, indigenous people, the blanket term "Eskimo" is offensive because it was not a name they chose for themselves.
When most of us hear the term "Eskimo" we tend to think of furry-hood clad indigenous people living in igloos and riding on sleds pulled by huskies. While there are many northern native tribes that do in fact live this way, no one really knows where the term Eskimo originally came from. Some theories say it came from the Cree word for "raw eater of meat," while others think it comes from the Ojibwa word "to net snowshoes."
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Some people find the word Eskimo to be offensive because it was assigned to these groups by outsiders, and very few of them use the word to describe themselves. However, the native people of Alaska use it as an all encompassing term to describe indigenous Alaskan tribes, which includes the Yupik, Inupiat, Athabascans and Alutiiq. While most of these tribes don't find the term Eskimo offensive, they would prefer to be identified by their specific tribes instead.
The term "Inuit," is a different story. Canada officially uses this term to describe the native people living in the northernmost regions of the country. In 1977 the Inuit Circumpolar Council voted to replace the word Eskimo with Inuit. Canada currently has 60,000 Inuit people, living primarily in Inuit Nunangat. Greenland has an Inuit population of 50,000 people, which amazingly comprises 89% of their population, given the small number of people that live there. In northeast Russia, Siberian Eskimos live on the shores of the Bering Sea.
In total the ICC is comprised of about 160,000 Inuit people living across Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Russia. So, yes Eskimos do still exist, but it's a better idea to call them Inuits instead!
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