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About The Inuvialuit

Inuvialuit means Real People in their language, Inuvialuktun. The Inuvialuit have lived in the western Canadian Arctic since long before living memory. Today, there are about 5,000 Inuvialuit, many of whom live in the six communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region: Aklavik, Inuvik, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk and Ulukhaktok. The Government of Canada formally recognized Inuvialuit ownership of lands in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in 1984 through a comprehensive land claim, the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.

Inuvialuit are related to the Yuit, Inupiat, and Inuit, whose traditional homelands are in the Arctic regions of Siberia, North America and Greenland. Together they share similar lifestyles, cultures, and languages (linguists call this family of languages Eskimoan). There are three dialects of Inuvialuktun, reflecting the different events in the histories of local groups of Inuvialuit.

The Siglit dialect is spoken in the coastal communities of Tuktoyaktuk, Paulatuk and Sachs Harbour. This may be the most ancient dialect in the area, and the meaning of Siglit has been lost to local memory. People in Uluhaktok, the easternmost community in the ISR, call themselves Kangiryuarmiut and speak a dialect known as Inuinnaqtun, which is closely related to the language spoken by Inuit of the Central Arctic and indicates their strong ties to that area. The Uumarmiut dialect is spoken in Inuvik and Aklavik, communities in the forested Mackenzie River Delta where people from Alaska immigrated starting in the early 1900s. In working together towards their land claim, Siglit, Uumarmiut and Kangiryuarmiut agreed to use the term 'Inuvialuit' to collectively refer to themselves, and 'Inuvialuktun' to refer to their three dialects.

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