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Eskimo Tribal Histories

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Alaska,Native American | No Comments

Eskimo American aborigines, forming part of the Eskimauan linguistic stock, which formerly occupied nearly all the coasts and islands of Arctic America from E. Greenland and the N. end of Newfoundland to the westernmost Aleutian ids., even extending to the E. coast of Siberia a distance of more than 5,000 m . From remains found in Smith sd. it is evident that bands formerly wintered as far n. as lat. 79° and had summer camps up to 82°. At the present time they have re ceded from this extreme range and in the S. have abandoned the N. shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence, the N. end of Newfoundland, James bay, and the s. shores of Hudson bay, while in Alaska one Eskimo tribe, the Ugalakmiut, has practically become Tlingit through intermarriage. The name Eskimo (in the form Excomminquois) seems to have been first given by Biard in 1611. It is said to come from the Abnaki Esquimantsic, or from Ashkimeq, the Chippewa equivalent, signifying eaters of raw flesh. They call themselves Inuit, meaning people. The Eskimo constitute physically a distinct type. They are of medium stature, but possess uncommon strength and endurance; their skin is light brownish yellow with a ruddy tint on the exposed parts ; their hands and feet are small and well formed; their eyes, like those of other American tribes, have a Mongoloid character, which circumstance has induced many ethnographers to class them with the Asiatic peoples. They are characterized by very broad faces and narrow, high noses; their heads are also exceptionally high. This type is most marked among the tribes E. of Mackenzie r. In disposition the Eskimo may be described as peace able, cheerful, truthful, and honest, but exceptionally loose in sexual morality.


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