It was only after 1950 that the Inuit began to have frequent contact with non-Inuit people, much later than the Mi’kmaq would have. Their geographic isolation and the harsh environmental conditions of the northern regions in which they live also delayed the sedentarization process and the changes in their culture.
The customs of the Inuit are very much alive in their communities. Mant Inuit still know how to fabricate parkas that are well-suited for the Arctic and people continue to make traditional objects like avataq. Many Inuit are skilled sculptors and continue to make sculptures out of stone or whale bones. Since 1980, the Avataq Cultural Institute has been responsible for preserving and promoting culture, language and traditions in Nunavik.
Many Inuit enjoy coming together for a meal or for entertainment. Some people practice traditional drum dancing. Others practice traditional throat singing (called katajjak). Throat singing requires impressive physical endurance as women try to imitate the sounds of the wind or flowing river.
Although the Inuit maintain many of their traditional beliefs, they have been significantly influenced by Christian religions and non-Indigenous Peoples who have come to work and live on their territory.
Based on texts from the Récit de l’univers social. Adapted with additions by LEARN.
To view examples of contemporary Inuit Art, visit the WAG – Qaumajuq museum site.