Economics Principles and Practices
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Chapter 2: Economic Systems and Decision Making
"The Inuit Society — The Importance of Tradition"

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. If a walrus or bear was taken, hunters divided the kill evenly into as many portions as there were heads of families in the hunting party. The hunter most responsible for the kill had first choice, the second hunter to help with the kill chose next, and so on. 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.

Destination Title: Inuuqatigiit—The Curriculum from the Inuit Perspective

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Start at the Inuuqatigiit—The Curriculum from the Inuit Perspective Web page.

  • From here, you can select categories that will take you to information about the life and culture of the modern-day Inuit. Read the various Web entries, or print a hard copy whenever necessary to answer the questions below:
1. How important are traditional beliefs and values to the Inuit today?

2. How does tradition play a role in the skills and responsibilities of girls? Of boys?

3. Explain the relationship of the Inuit to the natural world around them.

4. Explore other links in the site to find examples of how tradition helps the Inuit answer the basic WHAT, HOW, and FOR WHOM questions that all societies face. List at least two such examples.


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