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The Vanishing

Eskimo Origins | Eskimo Culture | Eskimo Peoples | Environment | Chukchi

The Eskimo people today are found from the northeast tip of Siberia across Alaska and Canada to Greenland. They are known by many names including Yup'ik, Inuit and Inupiaq. The Eskimo and their relatives, the Chukchi of Siberia, were coastal hunters of sea mammals. In earlier times, they hunted reindeer in Siberia or caribou in Alaska and Canada. Dogs played a role in the historic cultures of both groups.

Who are the Eskimo?  Here are resources useful in a search for an answer. See a guide to Harpoons of the North Pacific Rim and Paleolithic heritage of Arctic peoples for more insights.

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Clink link to order Ancient People of the Arctic
Ancient People
of the Arctic


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Aleuts, Survivors of
the Bering Land


Clink link to order A Legacy of Arctic Art
A Legacy of
Arctic Art


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Inuit Art: An


Click link to order Native Peoples of Alaska
Native Peoples of
Alaska: A Traveler's
Guide to Land,
Art and Culture


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E-cards of Inuit
and Northwest Art


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Sinews of Survival:
The Living Legacy
of Inuit Clothing


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Natives of the Far
North: Alaska's
Vanishing Culture


Click link to order Aboriginal Harpoons
Aboriginal American
Harpoons: Study in
Ethnic Distribution
and Invention


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Ancient Harpoons


Eskimo Origins & Migrations
  [ Top ]

Eskimo Origins: no longer considered refugees from Ice Age Europe, Eskimos are seen to have a complex history from Siberia to Greenland

Eskimo Origins in Siberia: ancestors of the Aleut and Eskimo arrived in North America from Siberia 6,000 years ago, some experts say

Arctic Small Tool Tradition to Paleo-Eskimo: encompassing the Denbigh Flint culture people of Alaska and Paleo-Eskimo of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland who spread rapidly across the North 4000 years ago in a path suggested by this map

Aleutian Origin of ASTt: artifacts such as 3000 year old labrets and miniature carved masks suggest ASTt originated in Aleutians, while others believe it evolved around Bering Strait and in northeastern Siberia

Palaeo-Eskimos of Canada: arrived from Alaska ca. 4000 years ago with microblades, harpoons tipped with tiny stone end blades, adzes, then in eastern Canada evolved into Pre-Dorset culture with toggling harpoons

Eskimo Peoples of Alaska: some 2700 years ago near the Bering Strait, people combined cultural traits from the Arctic Small Tool tradition (chipped stone tools), southeast Alaska (ground slate tools), and from Chukotka in Siberia (ceramics), forging Alaska's Eskimo culture

Inuit Migration: map shows Inuit migration from Siberia across North America to Greenland, and a second map shows their coastal homeland

Origins seen through Genetics:  resources on the genetic relationships of the ancestors of the Aleut, Eskimo and Chukchi

Eskimo Culture   [ Top ]

Eskimo Culture: similar across 5,000 miles of the Arctic, with toggle harpoons, fur garments, sleds, more; more on unity of Eskimo culture


Old Bering Sea Hunting Equipment: harpoon parts from Diomede Islands in Bering Strait, ca. 2000 BP, and Old Bering Sea artifacts ca. 2250 BP when the culture originated on the Siberian side of the Bering Strait and the Bering Sea islands, already equipped for maritime hunting

Ekven burial ground & settlement - Uelen, Chukotka: this 500 BC to 1000 AD site gives a look at Early Whale Hunter cultures, includes walrus ivory tools, human burial in a boat, dog burial. The Ekven shamaness burial contained many artifacts including:
· a burial mask
· masks and dance goggles
· ivory carving imitating metal on shaman's costume
· pottery paddle with carved shaman/bear & circles

Eskimo-type harpoons are known no further west than Chukotka

Ruins of a Whalebone House: at Avan near Provideniya, Chukotka

Alaska & Bering Strait & Aleutians

Aleut Baidarka or Kayak: from the Commander Islands, west end of the Aleutians, and more on the kayak and other North Pacific Rim artifacts

Kachemak Bay & Kenai Peninsula & Kodiak Island Cultures & Artifacts: Ocean Bay II 4500-4000 BP, Arctic Small Tool Industry 4000 BP, Early Kachemak Tradition with open socket harpoon head and Late Kachemak Tradition 3000-1000 with toggling harpoon

Alaskan Eskimo cultural artifacts included varied objects:
· Items of walrus ivory including carvings of animals, people; objects
  such as counterweights for harpoons and harpoon sockets
· Items of wood including fishing net floats and rattles
· Harpoon heads & fish hooks carved of ivory or wood
· Fishing decoys and masks carved of wood

Alaskan Eskimo Slate Tools: blades and knives as well as harpoon tips and toggling harpoon heads with blades inserted

Eskimo Art & Masks: 20 cultural artifacts from Bering Strait including:
· Carved walrus ivory bear charm
· Ipiutak style mask
· Half-man & half-animal mask
· Shaman's helper mask - riding a beaver
Shaman's mask with sun & moon & dog spirits

Eskimo culture in Alaska with pictures of slush net, fish hook, fish net, whaling, kayak, Punuk period carvings, harpoon with foreshaft, rope and heads typical of St. Lawrence Island, plus archaeology and history

Eskimo culture of Alaska's Bering Strait during the Norton period some 2000 years ago saw a wealth of new equipment from kayaks, umiaks and float harpoons to snow goggles, ice creepers, ivory objects and more, the gear identified with the later Eskimo cultures

Languages of the Yupik and Inuit: a review of the western and eastern Eskimo languages including links to the Siberian Eskimos

Northern Alaska Eskimo Baleen Basketry: using baleen from bowhead and other whales


Arctic Small Tool Tradition: likely originating in Siberia, people of the ASTt migrated to Alaska, then across Canada where they were called
· PaleoEskimo or Pre-Dorset - microblades, stone point, hearth, then
· followed by Dorset - harpoon heads, points, shaman's equipment
· followed by Thule - whale harpoon, house reconstructions
· and then by modern Inuit - with lifestyle to match the climate

Eskimo cultural artifacts in Canada varied over time including:
· Early Palaeo-Eskimo artifacts - microblades, cores, harpoons
· Early Palaeo-Eskimo artifacts - harpoon end blades, sideblades
  from Newfoundland
· Late Palaeo-Eskimo artifacts - bone harpoons, art carved of bone,
  ground slate projectile points, microblade knives, soapstone vessels
· Dorset Eskimo artifacts - harpoon end blades and microblades from
  Newfoundland, Labrador

Early Paleo-Eskimo Cultures: stone points, remains of dwellings, from the Eastern Arctic of North America

Canadian Dorset Art: wood and ivory sculpture and masks, and an in-depth look at Paleo-Eskimo & Dorset cultures with a big gallery of Dorset art including bears, seals, birds, humans, more, and another Dorset invention, oil-lamps

Canadian Eskimo Art: with sculptures of bears, more, plus examples of new and ancient Eskimo carvings, and art of the Canadian Inuit

Canadian Inuit Cultures: descriptions of artifacts of Eskimo or Inuit cultures: Denbigh Flint Complex 4500-2800 BP in Alaska and the Pre-Dorset 4500-2800 BP in Canada, then Dorset and Thule

Inuit technology: composite toggling harpoon attributed to the Alaska Thule people along with the kayak, plus the ulu knife and comb

Harpoons - Barbed & Toggling: resources on this key cultural element

Pottery: a cultural element from Jomon-era Japan and the Amur River that reaches the Far North, becoming part of Eskimo culture

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Baleen Basketry
of the North
Alaskan Eskimo


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Living Tradition of Yup'Ik
Masks: Agayuliyararput:
Our Way of Making Prayer


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Eskimo Architecture:
Dwelling and Structure in
the Early Historic Period


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Jomon of Japan:
The World's
Oldest Pottery


Clink link to order Antler on the Sea
Antler on the Sea:
The Yup'ik and Chukchi of the
Russian Far East


Click link to order Alaskan Eskimo and Aleut
Alaskan Eskimos
and Aleuts


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The Inuit of Canada (First Peoples)


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Making History:
Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Life
on the Alaska


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Indians, Eskimos,
and National Parks
in Alaska


Click link to order Eskimo: Inuit & Yupik
The Eskimo:
The Inuit and
Yupik People


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Eskimo Peoples
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Arctic Nomads in an Icy World: map of Arctic peoples from the Bering Strait Inuit to the Aleut to the Greenland Eskimo

First Societies of the Circumpolar North: resources including:
· Aboriginal People of the Russian North
· Aboriginal People of the North American North

Arctic & Eskimo People: chart of people and time periods for Alaska, Arctic Cananda and Greenland including:
· PaleoArctic Tradition 10,000-7,000 BP: continuity unclear
· Arctic Small Tool tradition or ASTt 4200-2800 BP: likely from eastern
  Siberia, includes Denbigh Flint in Alaska, Pre-Dorset in Canada

· Norton 3000-1200 BP: ASTt evolved into Norton in Alaska
· Dorset 2500-1000 BP: ASTt evolved into Dorset in Canada
· Thule Tradition 2000-400 BP: Norton evolved through phases such as
   Old Bering Sea, Okvik, Pununk Birnirk, into full Thule culture

Sequence of Eskimo Peoples: for Alaska, Arctic Cananda and Greenland from Paleo-Eskimo to Pre-Dorset, Dorset, Bering Strait peoples including Denbigh and Ipiutak, plus Thule, superb Arctic hunters


Aboriginal People of the Russia North: resources on the Aleut, Chukchi, Koryak, Eskimo, Evenk, Itelmen, Nikvh and many more

Arctic People including the Chukchi and the Yup'ik, the Eskimo people of Siberia and southwest Alaska, from Arctic Connection

Eskimos: Arctic peoples of Siberia, Alaska USA, Canada and Greenland, known today as Yup'ik, Inuit and Inupiaq, with maps, history

Siberian Yup'ik or Eskimo: and their relations with the Aleut and with the Chukchi and Koryak of Northeast Siberia

St. Lawrence Island Eskimo: reveals two occupations, the Old Bering Sea/Birnirk from Siberia and the Okvik/Ipiutak from Alaska, a new approach to the island's prehistory

Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire: info on 85 peoples of Russia and Siberia, Chukchi, Koryak, Eskimo, Yukagir, more

Alaska & Aleutian Islands

Alaska's Native Peoples & Languages: with a clickable map, and more on the Eskimo of coastal Alaska with connections across Canada to Greenland

Aleuts: sea mammal hunters of the Aleutian Islands

Alutiiq: maritime people of the southern coast of Alaska including Kodiak Island, also known as Pacific Eskimo

ArcticCircle: Links to Northern Culture & Peoples: with portraits of Arctic & Eskaleut peoples including Aleut, Inuit, Inupiaq, Yup'ik

Eskimo Peoples of North America: from the Arctic Small Tool tradition starting 4000 BP to Thule Eskimo peoples starting 2000 BP

Eskimo Whaling Cultures: starting ca. 2000 BP, people hunted bowhead and other whales around the Bering Strait, including at Alaska's ancient Point Hope [see map] also known as Tikigaq, with Eskimo cultures running from Old Bering Sea through Birnirk, then Thule starting 1000 BP

Inuit & Yupik Languages: similarities, differences show relationships, and more on the Yupik & Inupiat & Inuit peoples and languages plus a look at the many tongues of the North Pacific Rim, with excellent map

Mammoth Trumpet Archives:  news of early Americans, connections with Asia and Siberia, from the Center for the Study of the First Americans

Yup'ik of Western Alaska: different environment, different lifeway than the typical Eskimo of the Canadian central Arctic


Arctic Traditions in Canada: Pre-Dorset, Dorset and Thule peoples

Arctic Prehistory of Canada: tracing the Dorset culture in-depth, including a look at Pre-Dorset and Dorset harpoons and their changing styles from 3700 to 1000 years ago

Canada's First Nations - Arctic: from Paleo-Eskimo Dorset people through the Thule Eskimo, 4,000 years of Arctic survival

Native Peoples of Canada:  including ancient links to Beringia, Asia
· Paleoarctic or Beringian Tradition: a culture linking Siberia, Alaska
   and the Yukon as early as 13,000-10,000 BP
· Early Paleo-Eskimo Cultures: culture dated to 2,500 BC in Canada,
   with origins rooted in cultures of Neolithic northeastern Siberia
Middle Paleo-Eskimo or Dorset Culture: 1,000 B.C. to 500 A.D., an
   era of reduced caribou hunting, increased marine mammal hunting
· Thule Culture: classic Eskimo culture, 1000 A.D. - 1600 A.D.

Paleo-Eskimo & Dorset & Thule & Dene: the sequence of northern Canada's native peoples andcultures

Palaeo-Eskimo of Labrador & Newfoundland including the Independence I, Pre-Dorset and Dorset phases, all with microblades (see illustrations), plus the Maritime Archaic tradition here with toggling harpoons at 7500 BP -- perhaps the source of this key tool for Eskimo people -- and the classic Thule Eskimo

Inuit of Canada: and their ancestors, the Dorset and Thule people

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Arctic Dreams
by Barry Lopez


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Natives of the Far North:
Alaska's Vanishing Culture
in the Eye of Edward
Sheriff Curtis


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Threads of Arctic
(Archaeological Survey
of Canada, No 149)

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Not Just a Pretty Face:
Dolls and Human
Figurines in Alaska
Native Cultures


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Ancient Encounters:
Kennewick Man and
the First Americans


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Raven and the Rock:
Storytelling in


Clink link to order Drawing Shadows to Stone
Drawing Shadows to Stone: Photography
of the Jesup North
Pacific Expedition


Click link to order Shaman's Coat
The Shaman's Coat:
A Native History
of Siberia


Clink link to order A History of the Peoples of Siberia
A History of the Peoples of Siberia:
Russia's North Asian
Colony 1581-1990


The Chukchi of Northeast Siberia   [ Top ]

Arctic People including the Chukchi and the Yup'ik, the Eskimo people of Siberia and southwest Alaska, from Arctic Connection

Chukchi: from the Centre for Russian Studies, Norway, and more about the Chukchi people and the peoples of Russia & Siberia

Chukchi Ancestors: early people in Chukotka, seen through archaeology

Chukchee Culture & People: the maritime and reindeer peoples

Chukchi Culture: tents of Chukchi and Siberian peoples, tattooing among Eskimo and Chukchi, a leather mask, sleighs & tools, rituals plus more on rituals, rock carving and myths of the reindeer Chukchi

Chukchi Language & People: 70% of Chukchi speak their own language, and more on the Chukchee & Language and Eastern & Western dialects

Chukchi Origins: what recent genetic research tells us, through papers on mtDNA and Y chromosome research, from WorkingDogWeb, and more on Chukchi genetic links to Central Asia, North America from Spencer Wells

Chukchi Photographs and 130 photographs with sled dog teams, a pair of dogs helping a hunter haul home a seal, hunters resting sled dog teams, links to photos of other northern people, plus historic Chukchi photos

Crossroads of Continents Exhibit: Siberia & Alaska - meet the Chukchi, Koryak, Even, Amur River people in Siberia, Eskimo, Aleut, more

Jesup Expedition to Northeast Siberia:  photographs of North Pacific peoples including the Ainu, Chukchi, and Itelmen of Siberia

Native Peoples of Kamchatka: brief introductions to the Koryak, Itelmen, Evens and Evenki, Chukchi and Aleuts

Native People of Siberia: the Altaic, Uralic and Paleo-Siberian groups of peoples, with links to information

People of Siberia: info on 14 native peoples of northern Siberia from the Chukchi and Koryak to Samoyed peoples, with map, photos, and more on
the role of wild and domestic reindeer in their lives
· their domestic life including tents, reindeer sleds
· objects for hunting & domestic & religious life

Paleolithic Origins of the Chukchi: and their Siberian neighbors as well as the Native peoples of the Americas

Reindeer Chukchi: life of the reindeer Chukchi, in words and pictures, including sleighs, tools, clothing and dogs outside, dogs in the yaranga or tent, dogs in the four seasons

Reindeer Chukchee: the lives of a nomadic reindeer people, and a child's introduction to the Reindeer Chukchee

Shamanism among the Chukchi: rituals, talismans, beliefs, with pictures

Arctic & Northern People    [ Top ]

Peoples of the North: from Alaska, Canada and Greenland to Scandinavia including the Saami, and Russian/Siberian peoples, with maps, charts

Indigenous People of Siberia & Russian Far East: Even, Evenk, Sami, Yukagir, more, with map showing homelands history, language, culture of Koryaks, Chukchi's neighbors to the south on Kamchatka Peninsula, with photos of Koryak sled dogs

Native Folks of Siberia: with photographs of the Chukchi of Northeast Siberia, and the Ainu, Itelmen and Nivkh of Kamchatka and the Lower Amur River region, with photos of sled dogs of the Itelmen

Peoples of the Russian North and Far East:  resources about the North Pacific peoples including the Chukchi, Koryak, Evenki and more

Photo Gallery including Chukchi, Evenk, Nenets, other reindeer people

Reindeer Herding Peoples: with links to the Chukchi, Even and Evenki, Koryak, Nenets, more on Nenets, Sami, people of Mongolia, more

Reindeer Hunting & Herding Peoples: across Siberia, including Chukchi, Even and Evenki, Koryak, Ket, Nenet, Ngansan and more

Clink link to order The Palaeolithic of Siberia
The Paleolithic
of Siberia

Clink link to order Ancient People of the Arctic
Ancient People
of the Arctic


Clink link to order Drawing Shadows to Stone
Drawing Shadows
to Stone


Clink link to order Arctic Archaeology


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American Beginnings:
The Prehistory and
of Beringia


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Shamanic Worlds:
Rituals and Lore
of Siberia and
Central Asia


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Chukchi Origins:
from Genetics


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Environment & Geography of Eskimo & Chukchi   [ Top ]


Alaska's Historic Whaling Villages: map of the Bering Strait and northern Alaska Eskimo villages including Wales, Point Hope, Barrow as well as villages on St. Lawrence Island. Click each village name for details.

Alaska's Native Languages Mapped: including Siberian Yupik on St. Lawrence Island off Chukotka and a map of Alaskan native peoples

Eastern Siberia - Map: see the Chukchi Peninsula, Kamchatka Peninsula, Sakhalin Island and Alaska in relation to each other

Eskimo or Inuit Peoples - Map:   shows the Siberian Eskimo and various groups of Alaskan, Canadian and Greenland Eskimos

Inuit Population of Canada 1996: from online Atlas of Canada, and a series of maps for Inuit plus Canada's other First Nations peoples

Map of Seward Peninsula: home to Eskimo villages such as Wales as well as the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, and Nome


Arctic Environment: animals, plants, weather, geography of the Arctic, and more on Arctic Resources by Region including Alaska and Russia

Arctic Roadmap: with links to environmental and ethnological information, and more Arctic Links & Resources

Beringia or Bering Land Bridge:  the Ice Age region at the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska, home to ancestors of the Chukchi and the Siberian and American Eskimo peoples, and a Beringia map

Bering Land Bridge National Preserve - Alaska: a segment of ancient Beringia and its plants, animals preserved on the Seward Peninsula

Beringia:  more about this Ice Age land, with map & text, plus the geology, changes in size as climate changed at different times, flora and fauna, marine mammals, and earliest peoples of Beringia

Chukchi Land and Sea: photographs of Chukota and people

Chukotka: its environment, economy, culture, weather, more, and another look at Chukotka, home of the Chukchi, people "rich in reindeer"

Chukotka: a fine site on Chukota and its people, with a good map plus

Chukotka's Anadyr River: this major watershed is made up of three main rivers - Anadyr, Velikaya and Kanchalan - with important salmon runs

Chukchi Peninsula Tundra: information on ecosystem, photos

Chukotka Today: "Ice Curtain Thaws" - Christian Science Monitor story

Chukotka Tundra & Village: photographs of the land

Taiga and Tundra: home to the reindeer hunters and herders of Siberia, neighbors of Siberia's Eskimo people

Clink link to order Alaska 1899
Alaska 1899


Clink link to order A Legacy of Arctic Art
A Legacy of
Arctic Art


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Arctic Adaptations: Native
Whalers & Reindeer Herders
of Northern Eurasia

Clink link to order Arctic Hunter

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Siberian Light


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