Eskimo - Myths and Misconceptions About The Eskimo

Myths and Misconceptions About The Eskimo

There exist some very common erroneous ideas about the Inuit. These include:

  • "They have thousands of words for snow." This is a gross exaggeration. See Eskimo words for snow. There are many words for ice, however, that describe its forms, colors, age, relative safety for crossing or traveling over, and other aspects. See Nelson 1969, "Hunters of the Northern Ice"
  • "They live in igloos." Igloo simply means house. The snow house we think of was a temporary shelter during hunting seasons in the late winter and spring. It was an important survival skill making use of what materials were available and may still be used today in emergencies or for fun as part of the transfer of traditional knowledge between generations.

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