Culture and language are inseparable. However, the traditions and culture of the North are often called oral and have been passed on since the beginning of time.
In the long dark winter nights, (remember in the far North there are days when the sun never comes up!!) being inside a small igloo or wagaahigan for a long time, people played games and sang traditional songs which were both educational and entertaining.
Luckily, many legends still exist! Try one of these...
Click here to read "The Sleeping Giant"
Click here to read "The Legend of the Snowbirds"
There are eleven completely different Native languages in Canada: Athapaskan, Algonkian, Inukitut, Tlinkit, Haida, Tsimshian, Salishan, Wakashan, Iroquoian, Kootenayan and Siouan.
Here is an example of the Inuktitut syllabics. Try to write your name!
The Eastern Subarctic is sometimes referred to as the Northern Algonquian culture area. This region, along with present day northeastern United States, was traditionally home to Algonquian speaking people. In northern Ontario, the two main languages that survived over time were Ojibway and Cree.
The languages of the Inuit people constitute a subfamily of the Eskimo-Aleut language family. A major linguistic division occurs in Alaska, according to whether the speakers call themselves Inuit (singular, Inuk) or Yuit (singular, Yuk and most often called Yupik). The language spoken by Inuit is generally called: Inupiaq in Alaska, Inuktitut in Canada and Kalaallisut (Kal‚dtlisut) in Greenland. It is a chain of dialects! Which means that most often people who live close by can understand each other, where as when they are far apart, they can not - even though it is the same language!!
The Inupiaq dialects have more than 40,000 speakers in Greenland and more than 20,000 in Alaska and Canada. Yupik languages are spoken by about 17,000 people, including some 1000 in the former Soviet Union. These various languages are used for the first year of school in some parts of Siberia, for religious instruction and education in schools under Inuit control in Alaska, and in schools and communications media in Canada and Greenland. Inuktitut is now also one of 3 official languages in the new Canadian territory NUNAVUT (April 1999).
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