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Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Inuit mean?

Inuit means “the people” in Inuktut, the Inuit language. The singular of Inuit is Inuk, meaning person.

Who are Inuit?

Inuit are an Indigenous circumpolar people found across the North. In Canada, Inuit primarily live in the Inuit Nunangat — the Canadian Inuit homeland. The majority of the Canadian Inuit population lives in 53 communities spread over two provinces and two territories. Inuit have lived in this homeland since time immemorial.

What is Inuit Nunangat?

There are four Inuit regions in Canada, collectively known as “Inuit Nunangat.” The Canadian Inuit term “Inuit Nunangat” includes land, water and ice. Inuit consider the land, water and ice of their homeland to be integral to their culture and way of life. Inuit Nunangat includes Nunavut, Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavik (northern Quebec) and Nunatsiavut (northern Labrador). Inuit Nunangat encompasses roughly 35 per cent of Canada’s land mass and 50 per cent of its coastline.

What is the significance of the territory of Nunavut?

The territory of Nunavut (Inuktitut for “our land”) was proclaimed in 1993 and is made up of what were the central and eastern portions of the Northwest Territories. It is home to the majority of Inuit citizens. Nunavut was officially recgonized by the federal government on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act.

How many Inuit live in Canada?

There are about 65,000 Inuit living across Canada, with a median age of 23.

What language do Inuit speak?

Roughly 60 per cent of Inuit report an ability to conduct a conversation in Inuktut; however, each region has its own dialect(s). For example, the words Nakummek, Nakurmiik, Ma’na and qujannamiik all mean “thank you” in different dialects.

What is Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami?

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is the representational organization for 65,000 Inuit in Canada. About 50,000 Inuit live in the Inuit Nunangat, and 15,000 live across the country in other areas. ITK’s work includes research, advocacy, public outreach and education.

What are traditional Inuit values?

Sharing, respect for Elders and cooperation are central to Inuit community life.

Do Inuit live outside Canada?

Yes, Inuit are a modern people and can be found living around the world. There are also Indigenous populations of Inuit living in northern Alaska, Greenland and the Chukotka Peninsula of Russia.

Inuit are an Indigenous circumpolar people found across the North. In Canada, Inuit primarily live in Inuit Nunangat — the Canadian Inuit homeland.

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