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Alice Masak French

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Last Updated: 01 December 2020

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Alice Masak French is an Inuk woman from the Western Arctic Region of Canada, area in which ninety-five percent of the population is Aboriginal. The Canadian constitution officially recognise three differing groups of Aboriginal peoples: Indians, Metis, and Inuit. Geographically, Inuit communities can be found from Alaska to Greenland, including parts of Northern Manitoba, Quebec and Labrador, as well as all of Arctic Canada. Inuit speak dialects of a common language called Inuktitut, one of three Aboriginal languages in Canada which are considered by linguists to have the best chances of linguistic survival. Traditionally, Inuits depend upon hunting land animals and sea mammals as well as fishing to supply their main food sources; in southern areas, berries supplement this primarily meat-base diet. Hides and skins from hunting animals provide valuable equipment for warm clothing, blankets, and boots. Due to their dependence upon movements of food sources, Inuit social groups would be determined by season: smaller family groups travel together during warmer summer months, and then gather together with other families to create larger winter communities. Although some Inuit groups do depend on snowhouses for most of their housing needs, other Inuit groups live in tents in summer and permanent village housing in winter. European contact with Inuit initially started with the Norse settlement of Greenland, but extended and permanent contact did not affect the Inuit way of life until the nineteenth century, when whalers, fur traders, and explorers searching for the elusive 'Northwest Passage' began to move into Inuit territory. With whalers come smallpox, measles, tuberculosis and influenza epidemics; with fur traders come missionaries, who not only condemn Inuit cultural practices such as polygamy and spousal exchange, but also set up residential boarding schools for Inuit children. Fur trade also resulted in the introduction of Hudson's Bay Company to the North. HBC trading posts quickly become-and remain until very recently-economic and social centres of Inuit life. Major economic and social changes resulted from military presence in the Arctic during World War H as well as the construction of the Distant Early Warning Line of radar installations in the 1950s. By 1950s, federal government had taken control of administration of Inuit communities under Department is call now, and Inuit were encouraged to abandon their nomadic lifestyles in exchange for social security benefits and permanent housing in larger Northern communities. As a result of these huge social and cultural changes, Inuit morale plummeted for several decades, until two important events occur: in 1971, the first Inuit political body-Inuite Tapirisat of Canada ITC-was formed and, in 1975, first native land claims settlement in Canada-James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement-was signed by Cree and Inuit of Northern Quebec. Since then, two other major land claim settlements have been reached by Inuit groups.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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