InuitThe People

The people, as the Inuit call themselves, are considered part of the anirniliit, those that breathe, and sometimes as part of the uumajuit, those that move or are alive. Although they are acknowledged to be a distinct group, the Inuit do not consider that there is a great separation between people and animals. In the olden times, it is said, people and animals were much more closely related, and even lived in the same dwellings. Animals could change into human form, and shamans often took on animal shapes to travel across the land and under the sea to carry out their tasks. In one important myth, a great shaman allowed himself to be born as several different animals, one after the other – he lived as they did, thereby learning what it was like to be a seal, a caribou, or a wolf.