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Traditional Knowledge and Mythology

The ancestors of the modern Inuit colonized the Arctic thousands of years ago. They were the third in a wave of peoples who reached Northern Canada from Asia. Given the reliance of their culture on the harvest of wildlife, it should come as no surprise to learn that the Inuit developed a deep understanding of polar life. They created a practical classification system for the organisms they encountered, and gained a detailed knowledge of their seasonal movements and behaviours. They also created a rich mythology, which often featured Arctic life and was passed down to each generation through oral tradition.

In this section, we provide an introduction to both their classification system for life and to some Inuit legends.