Eskimos (or Esquimaux) or Inuit–Yupik (for Alaska: Inupiat–Yupik) peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia (Russia), across Alaska (United States), Canada, and Greenland.
There are two main groups that are referred to as Eskimo: Yupik and Inuit. A third group, the Aleut, is related. The Yupik language dialects and cultures in Alaska and eastern Siberia have evolved in place beginning with the original (pre-Dorset) Eskimo culture that developed in Alaska. Approximately 4,000 years ago the Unangan (also known as Aleut) culture became distinctly separate, and evolved into a non-Eskimo culture. Approximately 1,500–2,000 years ago, apparently in Northwestern Alaska, two other distinct variations appeared. The Inuit language branch became distinct and in only several hundred years spread across northern Alaska, Canada and into Greenland. At about the same time, the technology of the Thule people developed in northwestern Alaska and very quickly spread over the entire area occupied by Eskimo people, though it was not necessarily adopted by all of them.
The earliest known Eskimo cultures (pre-Dorset) date to 5,000 years ago. They appear to have evolved in Alaska from people using the Arctic small tool tradition who probably had migrated to Alaska from Siberia at least 2,000 to 3,000 years earlier, though they might have been in Alaska as far back as 10,000 to 12,000 years or more. There are similar artifacts found in Siberia going back perhaps 18,000 years.
Today, the two main groups of Eskimos are the Inuit of northern Alaska, Canada and Greenland, and the Yupik of Central Alaska. The Yupik comprises speakers of four distinct Yupik languages originated from the western Alaska, in South Central Alaska along the Gulf of Alaska coast, and the Russian Far East.
The term Eskimo is commonly used by those in the lower 48 (states of the USA) and in Alaska to include both Yupik and Inupiat. No universal term other than Eskimo, inclusive of all Inuit and Yupik people, exists for the Inuit and Yupik peoples. In Canada and Greenland, the term Eskimo has fallen out of favour, as it is sometimes considered pejorative and has been replaced by the term Inuit. The Canadian Constitution Act of 1982, sections 25 and 35 recognized the Inuit as a distinctive group of aboriginal peoples in Canada.
Famous quotes containing the word eskimo:
“The man who invented Eskimo Pie made a million dollars, so one is told, but E.E. Cummings, whose verse has been appearing off and on for three years now, and whose experiments should not be more appalling to those interested in poetry than the experiment of surrounding ice-cream with a layer of chocolate was to those interested in soda fountains, has hardly made a dent in the doughy minds of our so-called poetry lovers.”
—John Dos Passos (18961970)
“We all have bad days, of course, a secret that only makes us feel more guilty. But once my friends and I started telling the truth about how far we deviated from perfection, we couldnt stop. . . . One mother admitted leaving the grocery store without her kidsI just forgot them. The manager found them in the frozen foods aisle, eating Eskimo Pies.”
—Mary Kay Blakely (20th century)