Bring back some good or bad memories


August 20, 2012

Amazing Vintage Photographs Capture Everyday Life of Eskimo People From the Early 20th Century

The Eskimo are the indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the northern circumpolar region from eastern Siberia (Russia), across Alaska (United States), Canada, and Greenland.

The self-designations of Eskimo peoples vary with their languages and dialects. They include such names as Inuit, Inupiat, Yupik, and Alutiit, each of which is a regional variant meaning “the people” or “the real people.” The name Eskimo, which has been applied to Arctic peoples by Europeans and others since the 16th century, originated with the Innu (Montagnais), a group of Algonquian speakers; once erroneously thought to mean “eaters of raw flesh,” the name is now believed to make reference to snowshoes.

Despite that finding, the name Eskimo—widely used in Alaska—is nevertheless considered by some to be offensive. In Canada and Greenland the name Inuit is preferred for all indigenous peoples there. However, the indigenous peoples of Alaska include the Yupik and the Aleuts, both of whom are distinct from the Inuit. Other proposed names for the inhabitants of Alaska present different problems; Alaska Natives, for example, includes Athabaskan and other unrelated Native Americans.

Culturally, traditional Eskimo life was totally adapted to an extremely cold, snow- and icebound environment in which vegetable foods were almost nonexistent, trees were scarce, and caribou, seal, walrus, and whale meat, whale blubber, and fish were the major food sources. Eskimo people used harpoons to kill seals, which they hunted either on the ice or from kayaks, skin-covered, one-person canoes. Whales were hunted by using larger boats called umiaks. In the summer most Eskimo families hunted caribou and other land animals with bows and arrows. Dogsleds were the basic means of transport on land. Eskimo clothing was fashioned of caribou furs, which provided protection against the extreme cold. Most Eskimo wintered in either snow-block houses called igloos or semisubterranean houses built of stone or sod over wooden or whalebone frameworks. In summer many Eskimo lived in animal-skin tents. Their basic social and economic unit was the nuclear family, and their religion was animistic.

Eskimo Man reading a copy of the Saturday Evening Post, 1913

An Eskimo Family building an igloo, 1924

An Eskimo Hunter is in a kayak, and is about to throw a harpoon

An Eskimo man enjoying some music on a record player, 1922

A couple of Eskimo Men hunting Walrus, 1920

A group of Eskimo Whalers, 1929

Eskimo Berry Pickers. The picture was taken near Nome, Alaska in the early 1900's.

Portrait of an old Eskimo man, 1929

An Eskimo child, 1929

A beautiful Eskimo girl, 1929

Eskimo with dogs in sailboat, 1929

Eskimos in kayaks, 1929

1 comment:

  1. Awesome photos! Thanks for posting them! They're simply great! Kinda make me "nostalgic"... weird, uh?




Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10