Inuit peoples are divided into two closely related groups based on language environmental factors and certain cultural features.  One is the Yupik with a population of 25,000 living in Alaska and 1,300 in Russia and is located on the coastal southwestern Alaska, Nunivak, St. Lawrence Islands and including a small sector of the southwestern Chukchi Peninsula.  The Yupik language has the same origin as Inuits language but each dialect is distinct and not understood by each others speech.  Besides language, there are other cultural differences that separate Yupik, inupiat and inuit from one another.  The second group is Inupiat of North Alaska, eastern Russia, The Inuit of Canada, and the Inuit of Greenland.  The populace of these lands are; 152,000 Inuit, 2,000 live in Russia, 50,000 in Alaska, 45,000 in Canada and 55,000 in Greenland.  Over the expansion of these people in the Arctic territory, the differences in culture and languages are notable but truly great aspects of their culture is similar from one group to another as they travelled from the eastern shore of Greenland west across what is now Canada, Alaska and to the shore of Siberia.  In 1920, a Greenlander named Knud Rasmussen, an Inuk ethnographer traveled by dog sled team from Greenland, west across Canada to the north coast of Alaska.  He was able to collect a vast quantity of information that Inuit people can use to help them understand their history and cultural traditions.  Rasmussen was able to understand, without great difficulty, all the dialects he encountered in his trip.  Regardless of the variations of languages discovered, he found that Inuit from Siberia to Greenland share a similar cultural history up to the time of first contact with the outside world (Europeans); they shared many of the same values, stories, traditions and even technology.  One common trait amongst Inuit people is their pride of being able to make their life comfortable and able to have a sustainable livelihood in the harsh environment.  Their way of life is often described by foreigners as a hostile environment and see it as an unbearable existence.   Even today, some Inuit choose to continue traditions by travelling by dog sledge while others adapted with the changing technology and prefer snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles or power boats to get places.  In different seasons of the year there are locations that remained unchanged from their ancestors who established a network of living sites and travel routes connection them to seasonal hunting lands and marine areas to sustain their food source.  Each of the different Inuit groups across the Arctic have established their own patterns of living site, travel routes and land use.  However, these traveling routes overlap at the area from the shores of Labrador to the shores of the Bering Sea.The first Europeans to have contact or interaction with the Inuits is the Moravians.  It was on August 25, 1811 during a long trip along the coasts of Labrador and Ungave Bay when Brother Benjamin Kohlmeister and Brother George Koch arrived at an Inuit camp on the east shore of of the Koksoak River.  Their objective was to convert “the Esquimaux to Christianity”, and accordingly to Brother Kohlmeister’s journal, the Inuit of Koksoak River were very receptive to having a Moravian mission in the area.In 1830 the Hudson Bay Company established the first fur trading post in Nunavik located on on the east shore of Koksoak River where a settlement are there to this day.  The Inuits, Montagnais, as well as and Naskapi people did business with HBC until it closed in 1842 only to be reopened in 1866.  During World War II, in 1942, a U.S. Air Force base was constructed on the west shore of the Koksoak River, and at the same time the American Army occupied the are between 1941 to 1945 which further expedited the growth and development of the community.  However, once the war ended, the United States turned the base over to the Canadian government and in 1948 a Canadian Catholic mission was established, along with a nursing station, a school and a weather station.  In 1958, HBC moved upstream closer to the airstrips and remaining families followed the company forming a co-operative in 1961.  In Canada, Inuits live in 53 communities across the northern region named Inuit Nunangat ,meaning “the place where Inuit live.  Inuit Nunangat is comprised of four regions, Inuvialuit (North West Territory and Yukon), Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Nunatsiavut (Labrador) and Nunavut.  These 53 communities have a total of approximately 64,235 Inuits living in Canada.Presently, the livelihood and living conditions of these Inuits people residing in Canada are in a dire situation.  Researchers and aid workers have been gathering information and observing the crisis happening with housing in the Northern part of Canada. They have been visiting overcrowded homes in Igloolik, Iqaluit and Sanikiluaq in Nunavut and Kuujjuaq and Inukjuak in Quebec. The senators agree that Inuit “face an acute housing crisis which threatens their health and safety.”  They characterize the crisis as a source of “despair” with widely applicable effects on health, family violence, and children’s ability to learn.  According to Senator Patterson in Ottawa , “These inadequate and unsafe housing conditions impact the health and well-being of Inuit communities,”.  An amendment (AN AMENDMENT TO WHAT) THE INDIGENOUS ACT??  was in the process when the federal government was called to develop a funding strategy for northern housing in all four Inuit regions. They also included 13 other recommendations, ranging from building emergency shelters for those fleeing violence and unsafe homes to working toward better designs for homes that could bring down the cost of maintenance and repair. In Nunavut, over half the population relies on public housing, the Nunavut Housing Corporation has pointed out a need for 3,500 housing units.  It estimates the cost to build one unit between $400,000 and $550,000. That puts the price tag around $1.6 billion for that territory alone, not including the cost to operate and maintain those homes, or build more to address the rapidly growing population. The Inuvialuit need an estimated 107 housing units, at a cost to $300,000 to $400,000 each, for a rough total of $37.5 million.  Senator Patterson also said he was also “alarmed” to learn that the federal funding that does exist for northern housing is declining, and set to be phased out in 2038. That’s because several agreements for managing social housing units previously managed by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in the 1990s are coming to an end.Over many generations and from the first time there were introduction to outsiders (Europeans), the Inuit peoples have experienced many challenges to preserve their language, culture, traditions and livelihood.  Even today, the Inuits continue to face difficult times and overcome crisis situations in their homeland and their agreements with the Canada government has not always been in their favour but regardless of their strife, the Inuits have maintained culture, language and traditions as their populations rise slowly.  

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