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Introduction to the Cultures of North American Aboriginal Peoples Arctic Region.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the Cultures of North American Aboriginal Peoples Arctic Region."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to the Cultures of North American Aboriginal Peoples Arctic Region

2 Inhabitants  Not “Indians” –Difference based on physical differences:  Blood Types –ABO  Eskimo/Aleut peoples have percentages similar to Euro-Asian peoples  Indians lack antigen “B” –MN Blood Groups  Same similarities  Physical differences related to cold adaptation –Length of limbs –Breadth of trunk

3 Physical Anthropology Group Type O Type A Type B Type AB Eskimo (Alaska ) 38441315 Indians (USA) 791641 Navajo732700 Blackfo ot 178201 Czech3044189  Modern groups in the Arctic form a group distinct from the rest of the Americas’ aboriginal inhabitants  This can be seen in a number of physiological and linguistic areas –Eskimo-Aleut languages are related to languages spoken in eastern Siberia and not to other languages of North America –Blood type distribution (see table) –Y-chromosome and mtDNA differences  32 Y-chromosome haplotypes  Appears to indicate relationship (Haplotype 31) with groups in central Siberia

4 Genetic distance between human populations based on research by Cavalii-Sforza

5 Regional Characteristics (1)  Arctic Arctic –Stretching from western Alaska across the entire continent to Greenland –Area north of the tree line –Classic tundra conditions during the Holocene.  Cold, desert-like conditions.  Growing season ranges from 50 to 60 days.  Average winter temperature is -34° C  Average summer temperature is 3-12° C  Yearly precipitation, including melting snow, is 1525 cm –Flora  Low shrubs, sedges (Cyperaceae), reindeer moss (Cladonia rangifera), liverworts (Hepaticae), and grasses  400 varieties of flowers  crustose and foliose lichen

6 Climate  No region more affected by climate  Long winters –Winter: Oct-May –Summer Jun-Sept  Wind  Relatively dry

7 Tundra (Alaska National Wildlife Refuge)

8 Coastal tundra

9 Arctic Fauna: Terrestrial Mammals  Terrestrial herbivores: –Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) [sob] –Musk oxen (Ovibus moschatus) [pižmoň] –Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) [zajíc polární] –Lemming (Synaptomys spp.) [lumík]  Terrestrial carnivores –Wolf (Canis lupus) –Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) [liška polární]


11 Arctic Fauna: Marine Mammals (1)  Seals (true/eared) –Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) tuleň gronský  Adult males grow to about 1.7 m and 130 kg; females are smaller –Ringed seal (Phoca hispida) tuleň kroužkovaný  Adult ringed seals are 99-157 cm in length and weigh 45-107 kg –Ribbon seal (Phoca fasciata) tuleň pruhovaný  Adult ribbon seals average 155-165 cm in length and 70-80 kg in weight –Bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) tuleň vousatý  Adult seals are 2.1-2.5 m in length, and weigh about 200-360 kg –Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) mrož  Atlantic walrus males average 3.0 m in length and weigh approximately 800-900 kg. Pacific walrus males are somewhat larger, averaging 3.2 m and approximately 1200 kg. Females are generally smaller –Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) lachtan medvědí  Adult male 2 m, 135-270 kg. Average adult female 1.3 m, 30- 45 kg


13 Arctic Fauna: Marine Mammals (2)  Whales (toothed/baleen – ozubení/kosticovici) –Beluga (Didelphinapterus leucas) běluha  Adults measure 3-4.6 m and weigh 1350-1500 kg –Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) narval  Adults: 4-4.9 m, 900-1600 kg, tooth: 2-3 m in length –Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) plejtvákovec šedý  Adults are 13.8-15 m long and weigh about 33,000 kg –Northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) velryba biskajská  Adults are 15-15.2 m long and weigh about 54,000 kg –Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) velryba gronská  Adults are 15-18.5 m long and weigh 72-91,000 kg  Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) medvěd lední –Male polar bears grow two to three times the size of female polar bears –Males weigh about 350 to more than 650 kg and are about 2.5-3 m long –Females about 150 to 250 kg and are about 2 to 2.5 m



16 Diversity and Density  Western Arctic – highest diversity  Central Arctic – lowest diversity and density  Eastern Arctic – in between  Stone tools: –No suitable raw materials for chipped stone –Emphasis on ground stone tools (slate)  Extensive use of bone and ivory tools

17 Knives  Left: Ulu (woman’s knife) made of ground slate in a bone handle  Right: Man’s knife made from ivory

18 Oil lamps  Only source of light and heat  Fuel is blubber (fat of sea mammals)  Used for melting snow for water  Heating water for tea  Not sufficient for cooking

19 Other technology

20 Human mobility  Summer – restricted to water –Reduced mobility –Kyak –Umiak  Winter – on land and sea (frozen) –Increased mobility –Dog sled

21 Umiak

22 Inuit kayak (max. length 5 m) kayak

23 More kyaks

24 Kayak Kayak loaded with sealskin float, weapons, etc. Kayak

25 Sled Sled (toy) Sled

26 Dog sled team

27 House TypesHouse Types - Summer House Types  Simple whalebone or driftwood frame  Covered in animal skins

28 House Types - winter  W. & E. Arctic –Semisubterranean sod houses –Snow houses only used for short term living  C. Arctic –Snow houses used longer term

29 Seasonal residence patterns  Western Arctic –Summer village  50-100 people  Whaling –Winter dispersal  Nuclear family groups  Central Arctic –Summer dispersal –Winter village  60-100 people

30 Winter Village  Engraving from Frobisher expedition in 16 th century

31 Diet  Meat  Blubber/fat –No/minimal cooking  Vitamnins  Berries in summer –Cloudberry  An amber-colored relative of the raspberry  Grows on very small bushes

32 Nerkraitorvik  Hunting companions –Each hunter has 12 –Each of the 12 is referred to by a specific part of the seal –When a hunter kills a sea he exchanges that part with his named partner –Not necessary to participate in hunt to make claim

33 Division of Labor  Men –Hunting –Fishing –Butchering kills away from camp  Women –Butchering kills in camp –Preparation of clothing  Tanning leather  Sewing –Family duties  Both –Shamanism –Spiritual activities

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