The Inuit of the Arctic

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In today’s world, everything is moving at such a swift pace. From the advances in technology to the ever-changing trends of society, it seems as though things will never slow down. What happened to the days when all that humans really needed for survival were food, water, and shelter? Those days have long been gone. Although the majority of world citizens are no longer hunter-gatherers, there are a few of these ancient societies that still live on today. One of the oldest cultures known to man is the Inuit of the Arctic (also called “Eskimos”). They live in regions of Greenland, Canada, The United States, and Russia. The Eskimo system places no distinction between relatives, instead it focuses on differences in kinship distance (the closer the relative is, the more distinctions are made). The system emphasizes the nuclear family, identifying directly only the mother, father, brother, and sister. All other relatives are grouped together into categories. The Eskimo system is defined by its "bilateral" emphasis - no distinction is made between patrilineal and matrilineal relatives. This kinship system distinctly impacts the Inuit gender roles, marriage, and traditional beliefs. First off, the division of labor in traditional Inuit society had a strong gender component, but it was not absolute. The men were traditionally hunters and fishermen and the women took care of the children, cleaned the home, sewed, processed food, and cooked. However, there are numerous examples of women who hunted, out of necessity or as a personal choice. At the same time men, who could be away from camp for several days at a time, would be expected to know how to sew and cook. Secondly, the marital customs among the Inuit were not strictly monogamous. Open marriages, polygamy, divorce, and remarriage were known. Among some Inuit groups, if there were children, divorce required the
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