Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

How did the Inuit people survive without wood for fire?

I'm very interested in the Inuit people of the Arctic. back in the days before they had any contact with settlers, how did they survive if they had no wood to start fires? how did they cook their food? i know they lived in igloos and made homes out of whale bones and fur, but would this really be enough to keep warm in the freezing arctic without any fire?

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    ~If you are truly interested, you shouldn't be asking on this site. You are apt to get much more reliable information from (dare I suggest it?) books.

    First, you have to define "Inuit" and direct your search toward the particular group of interest. The are several varied cultures involved. You have to decide whether to include the Aleuts (I hope not), the Saami, the Yupik or the Inupiak in your subject group, for instance, or simply limit you research area to Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Unless you are in western Alaska, do not use the term 'Eskimo'. Inuit is an Inuktitut word meaning, loosely, 'the people. It is the plural of 'Inuk', meaning 'man'.

    Except in the extreme north, where few settlements were tried, the did NOT live in igloos in the summer. Igloos melt. However, in the winter the igloos were well constructed and adequately warm, especially when lined with animal hides. Some lived in sod huts and summer homes were often tents made of animal hides.

    Cooking was not that much of an issue. They believed raw food was more nutritious. They also ate frozen and dried meat. Fuel for fires included wood (drift wood or foraged wood from below the treeline). More often, they rendered animal fat - especially blubber (if the pantry was full and they had a surplus), they used moss, dried grasses or other dried vegitation and a primary source of fuel was dried animal dung. They could use these fuels for heat or for cooking. Another means to heat food was by use of rocks. They would warm rocks (with fire or by the sun) then place the rocks in hollows of larger rocks with the meat and some water.

    They survived quite well for eons without European interference. They Europeans were certainly not their saviors. There is a lot more. As I said, this is a lousy site to seek information but this little bit might get you started.

  • sam
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Inuit Survival

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Oh really thats awesome to know you interesting inuit culture/traditional

    i'll example you about how they did it

    "Qulliq" means lamp on the stone from seal oil

    they used cooking in Qulliq

    Yes they have warm house Iglu/Qarmaq(Sod house)/tupiq(Tent)

    In Alaskan Inupiaq/Inuvialuit have wood tree they use fire and East Canadian/Greenland dont have tree they use Qulliq or use grass/mosses few wood

    All Inuit people Alaska/Canada/Greenland use Qulliq and grass fire as well

    and i cant find any good site

    Source(s): Im Inuk =]
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    7 years ago

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  • 7 years ago

    Because Inuit people have a home in places exactly where most plants cannot grow up, the regular diet contained almost completely meat. Inuit fished as well as hunted to have their food. Whales, walruses, closes, fish were being staples in their diet.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Do you mean how DO they

    But driftwood and animal fats

    Inside ab Igloo is 32 above zero if the outside temp is 50 below thats 82 degrees warmer you will actualy sweat at 32 deg in those conditions +It takes very little fire to warm them

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Blubber burns.

    A tip of the hat to the Inuit here as well... my favorite Inuit is Irene Bedard, movie actress

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  • 1 decade ago

    They eat their immediate food raw. Food saved later was likely boiled to thaw it. Supposedly, the word "eskimo" meant "raw meat eater" in Algonquin Indian language. However, linguists have found no support for it. The accepted meaning is "snowshoe-netter" The word for the themselves, Inuit, means, "the people".

    They kept warm with furs and basic physical adaptation. The preferred fur is caribou which is honnycombed with microchambers and traps warm air. They tend to be shorter and wider, which helps keeps the core temperature high and they have more blood vessels in their hand and feets.

  • 7 years ago

    They ate raw meat ("eskimo" pretty much translates into "eater of raw meat") and relied on their own body heat to keep them warm. They wore polar bear skins and suchlike indoors and out. They did not build proper fires because they didn't have wood to burn. The few bits of driftwood they could find were too valuable to burn

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