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Their use and array of tools, their spoken language, and their physical type have changed little over large periods of time and space.Alaskan Inuit inhabit the west, southwest, and the far north and northwest of Alaska, comprising the Alutiiq, Yup'ik (or Yupiat), and Inupiat tribes.The major language family for Arctic peoples is Eskaleut.While Aleut is considered a separate language, Eskimo branches into Inuit and Yup'ik.The Dorset culture was later superseded by the Norton culture, which was in turn followed by the Thule.The Thule already had characteristics of culture common to Inuit culture: the use of dogs, sleds, kayaks, and whale hunting with harpoons.Anthropologically classified as central-based wanderers, the Inuit spent part of the year on the move, searching for food, and then part of the year at a central, more permanent camp.
Houses at Ipiutak were small, about 12 by 15 feet square, with sod-covered walls and roof.The name Eskimo was given to these people by neighboring Abnaki Indians and means "eaters of raw flesh." The name they call themselves is Inuit, or "the people." Culturally and linguistically distinct from Native Americans of the lower 48 states, as well as from the Athabaskan people of Alaska, the Inuit are closely related to the Mongoloid peoples of eastern Asia.It is estimated that the Inuit arrived some 4,000 years ago on the North American continent, thus coming much later than other indigenous peoples.Called by some the Old Bering Sea Cultures, these early inhabitants traveled by kayak and umiak skin boats in the warmer months, and by sled in the winter.Living near the coast, they hunted sea and land mammals, lived in tiny semi-subterranean dwellings, and developed a degree of artistic skill.
The Denbigh, also known as the Small Tool culture, began some 5000 years ago, and over the course of the next millennia it spread westward though Arctic Alaska and Canada.