This makes them dependent on the complex system of sharing and celebrating the whale,  and leads them to pray to any killed bowhead whale in thanks for the life it has given to them. Afterwards, the captain and crew of the hunt invite the community to a celebratory meal. Reasons for this decline include a lack of training, a lack of equipment, changing dietary preferences, a lack of interest, an increasing dependence upon wage employment, and interest in other activities for example, basketballhockeyand baseball.
People and the Land: Early Years Prior to the arrival of European explorers in the late 18th and early 19th century, Arctic Alaska, stretching from Norton Sound to the Canadian border, was the location of numerous distinct Inupiaq-speaking groups each associated with a particular territory.
As described by Ernest Burch Jr. All, however, tended to be endogamous. That is, along with spatial differentiation, marriages commonly occurred within rather than between groups.
Clothing styles, personal adornment, and subdialect differences also served to distinguish the members of one group from another.
The major social entities comprising these differing districts or localities were networks of large, bilateral extended families tending toward patrilocality, each composed of three to four generations, and each containing numerous married siblings and often cousins.
Burch uses the term "local family" to describe these social units. Since the size of the family was usually too large for a single dwelling, adjacent houses were utilized by "domestic families. Major population centers such as Point Hope and Point Barrow, located along sea mammal migration routes, contained several large local families clustered in distinct locations or neighborhoods, each set linked together by various affinal and consanguineal kinship ties.
Politically, these families were autonomous, segmental groupings, roughly equal in status, with no external "chief," council, or other recognized form of government capable of exerting control over them. Internally, a well-defined hierarchy did prevail, based largely on relative age, sex, and a sufficient number of younger siblings and cousins to make the elder statuses meaningful.
In most instances, these elders served as advisors rather than day-to-day decision-makers. The male family head was an umialik, often translated into English as "boss" or "rich man. But to become a "rich" umialik required a large local family composed of many active male and female hunters and skin sewers.
As holders of considerable wealth and high social position, these successful umialiks were powerful leaders, a trait shared only with the religious shaman [angatquq]. Indeed, many umialiks were shamans as well. Though not accorded formally defined authority, they regularly won the right to lead through their personal attributes of hunting, trading, and human relations skills, energy and wisdom.
These qualities were what gained them their following and their following was what provided them their wealth. Such qualities were requisite to keeping such a group intact since membership was voluntary and could change at any time.
Among members of a given family, mutual aid was the norm. In larger families, the food obtained from hunting, fishing and gathering was turned over to the umialik and his wife.
She, particularly, kept track of what was available, what was needed, and what could be redistributed to others. Hence, the larger the family, the greater the redistribution process, and the more extensive the power of the umialik and his primary wife [nuliaqpak].
Following a successful whale hunt, present-day Inupiat families on Alaska's North Slope continue the practice of distributing maktak [whale skin with blubber] to other community members. Highly successful umiliaks could further expand their families, and therefore wealth, by obtaining one or more additional spouses.
Thus, the only factor limiting the expansion of family size other than capability of its members, was the availability of local resources. Over several generations, some families were able to command far more goods and resources, while others, smaller in size, had less.
Small families resulted from various factors such as accidental death, poor health, weak management, and limited hunting skills. But whatever the cause, fewer relatives meant less people to count on in time of need.
In the larger settlements, such as the whaling communities of Point Hope and Barrow, this differentation culminated in a recognizable system of stratification whereby a small number of families were able to attain more wealth and power than those less well endowed.
Such power was not hereditary, however. As climatic or other natural events brought about a significant reduction in the available food supply, or as less competent umialiks assumed leadership, the mantle would pass on to more fortunate or more capable families.
It is often thought that prior to the arrival of Europeans with their guns and whale bombs, the available land and sea mammal population could easily support small aboriginal groups residing more or less permanently in the area.
In a few localities this was largely so. But for most, not only was seasonal mobility the norm, but the threat of disaster was ever present - whether caused by climatic alteration tidal wave, disease, or similar calamity. Climatic changes especially, could seriously reduce the availability of fish and game such as salmon, caribou, and ptarmigan.
No matter where the locality, the result was famine. Indeed, there are recognizable periods in Arctic Alaska prior to the arrival of Europeans [for example, between and ] when several territories were completely depopulated through famine or disease. Eventually, a few ex-residents returned, or if they had died out, other marginal members of adjacent areas moved in to fill the vacuum, and life continued.
One important aboriginal Inupiat institution uniting family members was the qargi, a kind of family gathering place. Although an overturned boat placed downwind on the beach could serve as a simple qargi, the structure was usually a building of some permanence.
Prior to the arrival of Christian missionaries in the s, every Inupiat settlement had one or more of these ceremonial houses. Children joined the house of their father, and on marriage a woman transfered to that of her spouse.When you say, “Inupiat Eskimo,” it is like saying White White to describe Caucasians.
Point of Infomation: ‘Eskimo’ is an Algonquin word meaning “eaters of raw meat’ which is too condescending to the Inupiat. All essays and research papers are written from the scratch.
All essays and papers are edited and proofread to ensure they meet top writing standards. Plagiarism is not tolerated in our company. Essay on Inupiat of Alaska. the Inupiat are not required to attend schools, many do and this becomes a contributing factor as it creates a generation gap between the two generations as the value system between the generations is greatly altered In conclusion, the Inupiat of Alaska have adapted their way of life and culture to living in the harshed .
Martha Aiken () is an educator born in Barrow, Alaska, of Inupiat descent. Aiken has authored 17 bilingual books for the North Slope Borough School District, has translated 80 hymns for the Presbyterian Church, and has been a major contributor to an Inupiaq dictionary.
North Alaska Coast Inupiat (Taġiuġmiut, people of the sea) Regional corporations. Iñupiaq high-kick ball, ca. , Barrow, Alaska, collection of the NMAI. Most of them live in Alaska. Iñupiat territories. Map of Alaska highlighting North Slope Borough. Prior to the arrival of European explorers in the late 18th and early 19th century, Arctic Alaska, stretching from Norton Sound to the Canadian border, was the location of numerous distinct Inupiaq-speaking groups each associated with a particular territory.