Frequently Asked Questions about Inuit Relations
Q. Who are the Eskimos, Esquimaux and Inuit?
A. Inuit are people indigenous to the Arctic. They were known as Eskimos or Esquimaux. They prefer to be called Inuit. The word Inuit means "the people" in the Inuktitut language. An Inuk is one person. Most Inuit live in communities along the Arctic coast.
Q. Do Inuit have land claims?
A. Yes, land claim agreements have been signed in all four Inuit regions: Nunavik (as part of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement) in 1975; Inuvialuit in 1984; Nunavut in 1993; and Nunatsiavut in 2005.
Under their respective land claim agreements, Inuit were granted title to certain blocks of land. In the Inuvialuit settlement the Inuvialuit (Inuit from the Northwest Territories) have legal control of 91,000 square kilometres of land, of which 13,100 square kilometres includes mineral rights; In Nunavut, Nunavummiut (residents or Inuit from Nunavut) have legal title to 352,191 square kilometres of land, of which 37,000 square kilometres include mineral rights; In Nunavik, Nunavimmiut (Inuit from northern Quebec) exercise rights on over 64,000 square kilometres of land; and in Nunatsiavut, Labrador Inuit have legal title to 72,520 square kilometres within the Settlement Area, and have mineral rights to 15,800 square kilometres of land.
These four land claim regions cover about 40 per cent of Canada's land mass.
Q. Do Inuit pay taxes?
A. Yes, Inuit are tax-paying citizens of Canada.
Q. Are Inuit First Nations?
A. The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people - First Nations, Métis and Inuit. These are three separate peoples with unique heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. Inuit are not part of any First Nation or Métis groups.
Q. Who are Innu?
A. The Innu are a First Nation in eastern Canada. They are not Inuit.
Q. How many Inuit are there?
A. According to the 2006 census, there are approximately 50,485 Inuit in Canada: in Nunavut, there are 24,635 Inuit; in the Nunavik region, 9,565; in the Inuvialuit region, 3,115; and in the Nunatsiavut region, there are 2,160 Inuit. There are approximately 8,395 Inuit living in urban centres in southern Canada. Approximately 155,000 Inuit live across the world in Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Russia.
Q. Where do Inuit live?
A. Inuit live in 53 Inuit communities across the northern regions of Canada. Inuit do not live in igloos, unless they are sleeping over night on the land. Inuit live in 4 settlement areas in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Northern Quebec and Labrador. The capital of Inuvialuit is Inuvik; the capital of Nunavut is Iqaluit; the capital of Nunavik is Kuujjuaq; and the capital of Nunatsiavut is Nain.
Q. Do Inuit live on reserves?
A. Inuit do not live on reserves but in communities; most communities are municipalities.
Q. What language do Inuit speak?
A. Inuit have one language called Inuktitut. It is spoken in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Northern Quebec and Nunatsiavut (Labrador); each region has its own dialect.
Q. What does the Inuktitut alphabet look like?
A. There are two styles of writing Inuktitut: syllabics and roman orthography. Syllabics use symbols to represent sounds rather than letters. Roman orthography uses the English alphabet to sound out the words in Inuktitut.
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