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Inuit Art: Preserving The Canadian Environment To Protect A Culture

Posted on Dec 29, 2014 by in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Inuit art is a traditional art form created by the Inuit natives that are indigenous to the far northern portions of Canada. Their history goes back thousands of years and has a strong basis in nature and their surroundings. Unfortunately, destruction of the Inuit people’s environment has an impact on their art. As a result, it’s important that the Canadian natural habitat be protected and preserved for the Inuit art to be created as it has for so many years.

The History of Inuit People, Art, and Culture

In the past, Inuit people were commonly called “Eskimos.” They came to occupy the coldest lands far north, including Canada, to avoid the hostile tribes that lived in the warmer southern areas. Because of the Inuit’s skills and adaptability, they were able to settle in the cold and hostile environment of the Arctic. They not only survived, but they thrived despite the hard living conditions.They learned to live in harmony with the harsh cold, dangerous wildlife, and lack of food sources. As a result, their past and present artwork shows that respect and love they had for their land and all the living creatures that inhabited the area.

The Inuit cultures believe in animism, which means that all living things have a spirit. Out of respect, the Inuit people created works of art to honor these spirits. They used materials that were readily available to them in the Canadian environment and were skilled at carving, weaving, and building incredible works of art using minimal tools. Some materials commonly used in their artwork include:

  • animal bone, skin/fur, teeth, and other body parts
  • bird feathers
  • native grasses
  • driftwood and stones

How Environmental Changes Impact Native Inuit Art

The Canadian environment, like other areas of the world, is undergoing changes. Whether as a result of global warming, normal climate changes, or human development, the effects are obvious. Negative environmental changes have a dramatic impact on the materials available to the Inuit people who create native art. Materials that were commonly available in nature can become difficult to find as extinction and weather changes impact the Inuit people’s land and wildlife.

Many present day Inuit artists craft their works of art based on what they still see in their environment. And, many still use the materials available to them as their ancestors did in the past. Supporting the Inuit artists, and protecting the Canadian environment, are the only ways to make sure the culture and artwork will continue for future generations to enjoy.

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