Chapter 2: Economic
Systems and Decision Making
"The Inuit Society The Importance
Students have learned that the Inuit society of northern Canada
in the last century is an example of a traditional economy.
For generations, parents taught their children how to survive
in a harsh climate, make tools, fish, and hunt. Their children,
in turn, taught these skills to the next generation. The Inuit
hunted, and it was traditional to share the spoils of the
hunt with other families. Because of their tradition of sharing,
and as long as skilled hunters lived in the community, a village
could survive the long harsh winters. This custom was partially
responsible for the Inuit's survival for thousands of years.
Students will use information from the Inuit Web site to find
out more about the traditional economy of the Inuit people.
Previous Knowledge Expected
Students should be familiar with the following term:
traditional economy: economic system in which the allocation
of scarce resources and other economic activity is the result
of ritual, habit, or custom
Applied Content Standards (from the
National Council on Economic Education)
Standard 1: Productive resources are limited. Therefore,
people cannot have all the goods and services they want; as
a result, they must choose some things and give up others.
Standard 3: Different methods can be used to allocate
goods and services. People, acting individually or collectively
through government, must choose which methods to use to allocate
different kinds of goods and services.
1. Students will find detailed information about the life
and culture of the Inuit.
2. Students will learn about the importance of tradition in
the education of the modern-day Inuit.
3. Students will discover how tradition helps answer the basic
WHAT, HOW, and FOR WHOM questions that every society faces.
Student Web Activity Answers
1. Answers will vary but should include examples or quotes
showing that traditional values and beliefs are still important
to the Inuit. In fact, the values are so important that they
are a formal part of the educational curriculum.
2. Girls learn their skills directly from their mothersthey
learn to chew and scrape skins, then sew, take care of younger
children, cook, tend the lamp, and many other things. Boys
learn their skills from their fathers. They would be taught
to shoot the bow, harness dogs, tend the sled and dogs, and
hunt seal, caribou, bear, and fox.
3. The Inuit have a close relationship with the land, or all
of nature around themthe earth, the water, ice, wind,
sky, plants, and animals. They believe that all living things
are connected in a continuous cycle of life.
4. Answers will vary. However, the WHAT to produce question
is determined by the environment and the skills and customs
of their parents. The HOW to produce question is also answered
by traditionthey like to do things in the traditional
ways of their parents and grandparents.
Extending the Lesson
Encourage students to visit the Web site describing the creation
of Nunavut at http://www.ccu-cuc.ca/en/library/nunavut.html
to learn more about the Canadian Northwest Territories that
have been turned over to the indigenous peoples.
Have students examine economies of other indigenous cultures.
How do the economies of these groups compare with that of