Native Americans: The Inuit. Climate and Environment. Traditional Inuit way of life was influenced by the harsh climate and stark landscapes of the Arctic tundra .
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Traditional Inuit way of life was influenced by the harsh climate and stark landscapes of the Arctic tundra.
The Arctic tundra, large plains filled with grasses, flowers, and mosses, is located in Earth’s north polar region. This is a very cold and windy place, and there is little precipitation. Most of the precipitation is snow.
Winter in the Arctic tundra is long, dark, and very cold with temperatures as low as -70°C (-94°F) at times. However, during the short summer growing season, temperatures climb above freezing, thawing the top layer of the frozen soil - the permafrost - for a few weeks.
Inuit invented tools, gear, and methods to help them survive in this environment
There are no trees in the Arctic tundra but there are many different species of plants including small shrubs, grasses, mosses, and flowers.
The plants that can survive in this extreme climate have adaptations that protect them from cold temperatures, such as grouping together and staying short.
Many animals, like caribou, insects and many birds, migrate into the Arctic tundra during the Arctic summer. Other animals, such as the Arctic hare, musk ox, and ptarmigan, have adaptations that allow them to survive the fierce conditions of the Arctic tundra year-round. Adaptations: thick fur or feathers for warmth, fur or feathers that turn white in color during the winter to camouflage against the white snow.
In the tundra there are not many building materials. No trees grow in the tundra to use for wood.
During a large part of the year, there is a lot of snow in the tundra which is a very good construction material.
In the winter, Inuit lived in round houses made from blocks of snow called "igloos". In the summer, when the snow melted, Inuit lived in tent-like huts made of animal skins stretched over a frame.
Although most Inuit people today live in homes built of other construction materials that have to be imported, in the past Inuit would migrate between a summer and winter camp which was shared by several families.
Most plants cannot grow where the Inuit live so the traditional diet consisted of almost entirely meat. Inuit fished and hunted to get their food. Whales, walruses, seals, fish were staples of their diet.