Contact with First Nations

Inuit PacksackFirst Nations Introduction

Inuit were generally welcoming and tolerant of other groups they encountered. When first meeting strangers, they would send out an elder to make sure that the strangers were friendly as well. Often, the elder would pull one arm out of his parka to show that he was not bearing a weapon and to give the stranger an advantage. Only when the elder was sure the strangers were safe would the other members of the group come forward in welcome.

Sharing food was the way strangers were welcomed into a camp. Inuit spend much time living in camps close to First Nations groups. However, there were also periods of enormous conflict when they avoided these groups or when they engaged in wars.


In both instances, contact with First Nations groups impacted Inuit. Some of these changes can be found in their pack. There are probably many other changes that occurred as Inuit and First Nations shared territory, but little was passed down in oral histories and the artifact evidence does not give us a clear story.

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