Inuit Weapons

The Inuit live in the Arctic circle. They learned to survive harsh winters and cold climate conditions. One common feature of Inuit life was the igloos, which are homes that were made out of snow and ice. The harsh living conditions made Inuit weapons much more important in their culture. They were the means of survival helping them to catch food and to protect themselves from raiding parties.

Inuit weapons were made primarily of bone and stones. Since the Inuit lived so far north, there was little vegetation to find or rely on. This means that they did not use wood as their weapons. Where most people would use wood the Inuit used whalebone instead. The Inuit would carve spearheads out of stone and bone.

The tools had to be strong because the Inuit hunted mainly walrus, whales and other animals with tough skins. Men were responsible for the hunting and for making all of the weapons. There are videos of traditional Inuit hunting techniques. They would use all parts of the animals to feed themselves, make new weapons and to make clothing from. The weapons consisted of spears, bow and arrows as well as knives. The harpoon was used to hunt in the water. The head of the harpoon was made out of carved bone or rock, and the shaft was made out of bone, tusks, or antlers. The Kakivak was spear used to hunt fish in shallow waters.

Raiding parities were always a risk, so the Inuit kept their weapons in the main part of the house. The men would sleep next to their weapons so that they could quickly defend their family in case of an attack. The raids were made to get food from neighboring villages. These were more common when it was more difficult to find food.

Today the Inuit are struggling to hold onto their Inuit culture in a changing world of technology. A lot of the time that was previously used to make weapons is now being used to create Inuit art and other handiwork. They also struggle with the changing climate.

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