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Teacher's Resources

Glossary


Eskimo: An early word to describe the indigenous peoples living in the Arctic regions of the United States, Canada, Siberia, and Greenland. The indigenous people in Canada's Arctic refer to themselves as Inuit, and this exhibition uses the phrase Alaskan Coastal peoples to describe the many varied indigenous peoples in Alaska and Siberia.

Fur: The dressed hairy coat of mammals.

Intestine: The part of the alimentary canal between the stomach and the anus. Alaskan Coastal peoples harvested intestines from the animals they hunted, and used it as a material to fashion a variety of objects because it is extremely waterproof.

Ivory: A hard smooth ivory colored dentine that makes up most of the tusks of elephants and walruses.

Kaayak: A light canoe, made of skins stretched over a frame, and usually capable of carrying but one person, who sits amidships and uses a double-bladed paddle. Used by Inuit and Alaskan Coastal peoples for hunting seal, walrus and other animals of the sea.

Skin: The natural protective covering of the body of humans and animals.

Umiak: The "umiak" is a large open skin boat once widely used throughout the Arctic for whale hunting, or moving materials. Unlike the kayak, an umiak can carry up to 15 people. Made of animal skins (usually walrus), stretched over a wooden (driftwood) frame that had to be skillfully constructed to provide the strength needed for such a large boat.