Inughuit - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The Inughuit are still hunters, although some work for the government or in stores, the hospital, the school, and so on. Unlike West Greenlanders who rely on fishing, the Inughuit hunt seal and walrus, which are available all year. Contrary to popular belief, they do not kill baby seals. Migrating beluga and narwhals are also hunted in the winter sun season and the skin eaten raw as a source of vitamin C. Migrating birds, and especially the plentiful small auks, are also hunted. An Inughuit delicacy, kivioq, is made by stuffing small auks in a sealskin with blubber and left to sit for six months. When the skin is cut open, the feathers are removed and the tender auk meat is eaten; it tastes much like mature cheese. Other game include arctic fox, polar bear (now under a government quota), hare, ptarmigans, reindeer, and musk-ox. The dog is of vital importance as the power for the sleds used in hunting. A dog team consists of eight to ten male and female dogs hitched to the sled in a fan shape with each dog on its own harness line. The Inughuit hunters are among the best dog sledders in the world. Kayaks and motor boats are both used for hunting today.

Division of Labor. Men hunt and women treat skins, sew clothing, and care for the household. As both men's and women's work is necessary for survival, the sexes are accorded equal status.

Land Tenure. No individual or group owns land or hunting grounds. All are free to hunt or build a dwelling where they want.


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