- Eskimaux, Gallatin in Trans. and Coll. Am. Antiq. Soc., II,
9, 305, 1836. Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, xcix,
77, 1848. Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, III, 401, 1853.
- Eskimo, Berghaus (1845), Physik. Atlas, map 17, 1848. Ibid.,
1852. Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 288, 1850 (general remarks on
origin and habitat). Buschmann, Spuren der aztek. Sprache, 689,
1859. Latham, El. Comp. Phil., 385, 1862. Bancroft, Nat. Races,
III, 562, 574, 1882.
- Esquimaux, Prichard, Phys. Hist. Mankind, V, 367-371, 1847
(follows Gallatin). Latham in Jour. Eth. Soc. Lond., I, 182-191,
1848. Latham, Opuscula, 266-274, 1860.
- Eskimo, Dall in Proc. Am. Ass., 266, 1869 (treats of Alaskan
Eskimo and Tuski only). Berghaus, Physik. Atlas, map 72, 1887
(excludes the Aleutian).
- Eskimos, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.),
460, 1878 (excludes Aleutian).
- Ounángan, Veniamínoff, Zapíski ob ostrova? Unaláshkinskago
otdailo, II, 1, 1840 (Aleutians only).
- Unu?un, Dall in Cont. N.A. Eth., I, 22, 1877 (Aleuts a
division of his Orarian group).
- Unangan, Berghaus, Physik. Atlas, map 72, 1887.
- Northern, Scouler in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc. Lond., XI, 218,
1841 (includes Ugalentzes of present family).
- Haidah, Scouler, ibid., 224, 1841 (same as his Northern
- Ugaljachmutzi, Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, III,
402, 1853 (lat. 60°, between Prince Williams Sound and Mount St.
Elias, perhaps Athapascas).
Aleuten, Holmberg, Ethnog. Skizzen d. Völker Russ. Am., 1855.
- Aleutians, Dall in Proc. Am. Ass., 266, 1869. Dall, Alaska
and Resources, 374, 1870 (in both places a division of his
- Aleuts, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.),
460, 1878 (consist of Unalaskans of mainland and of Fox and
Shumagin Ids., with Akkhas of rest of Aleutian Arch.).
- Aleut, Bancroft, Nat. Races, III, 562, 1882 (two dialects,
Unalaska and Atkha).
72 > Konjagen, Holmberg, Ethnograph. Skizzen Volker Russ. Am.,
1855 (Island of Koniag or Kadiak).
- Orarians, Dall in Proc. Am. Ass., 265, 1869 (group name;
includes Innuit, Aleutians, Tuski). Dall, Alaska and Resources,
374, 1870. Dall in Cont. N.A. Eth., 1, 8, 9, 1877.
- Tinneb, Dall in Proc. Am. Ass., 269, 1869 (includes “Ugalense”).
- Innuit, Dall in Cont. N.A. Eth., 1, 9, 1877 (“Major group”
of Orarians: treats of Alaska Innuit only). Berghaus, Physik.
Atlas, map 73, 1887 (excludes the Aleutians).
Derivation: From an Algonkin word eskimantik, “eaters of raw
The geographic boundaries of this family were set forth by Gallatin
in 1836 with considerable precision, and require comparatively
little revision and correction.
In the linear extent of country occupied, the Eskimauan is the most
remarkable of the North American linguistic families. It extends
coastwise from eastern Greenland to western Alaska and to the
extremity of the Aleutian Islands, a distance of considerably more
than 5,000 miles. The winter or permanent villages are usually
situated on the coast and are frequently at considerable distances
from one another, the intervening areas being usually visited in
summer for hunting and fishing purposes. The interior is also
visited by the Eskimo for the purpose of hunting reindeer and other
animals, though they rarely penetrate farther than 50 miles. A
narrow strip along the coast, perhaps 30 miles wide, will probably,
on the average, represent Eskimo occupancy.
Except upon the Aleutian Islands, the dialects spoken over this vast
area are very similar, the unity of dialect thus observable being in
marked contrast to the tendency to change exhibited in other
linguistic families of North America.
How far north the east coast of Greenland is inhabited by Eskimo is
not at present known. In 1823 Capt. Clavering met with two families
of Eskimo north of 74° 30'. Recent explorations (1884-’85) by Capt.
Holm, of the Danish Navy, along the southeast coast reveal the
presence of Eskimo between 65° and 66° north latitude. These Eskimo
profess entire ignorance of any inhabitants north of themselves,
which may be taken as proof that if there are fiords farther up the
coast which are inhabited there has been no intercommunication in
recent times at least between these tribes and those to the south.
It seems probable that more or less isolated colonies of Eskimo do
actually exist along the east coast of Greenland far to the north.
Along the west coast of Greenland, Eskimo occupancy extends to about
74°. This division is separated by a considerable interval of
uninhabited coast from the Etah Eskimo who occupy the coast from
Smith Sound to Cape York, their most northerly village being in 78°
18'. For our knowledge of these interesting people we are chiefly
indebted to Ross and Bessels.
In Grinnell Land, Gen. Greely found indications of permanent Eskimo
habitations near Fort Conger, lat. 81° 44'.
On the coast of Labrador the Eskimo reach as far south as Hamilton
Inlet, about 55° 30'. Not long since they extended to the Straits of
Belle Isle, 50° 30'.
On the east coast of Hudson Bay the Eskimo reach at present nearly
to James Bay. According to Dobbs36
in 1744 they extended as far south as east Maine River, or about
52°. The name Notaway (Eskimo) River at the southern end of the bay
indicates a former Eskimo extension to that point.
According to Boas and Bessels the most northern Eskimo of the middle
group north of Hudson Bay reside on the southern extremity of
Ellesmere Land around Jones Sound. Evidences of former occupation of
Prince Patrick, Melville, and other of the northern Arctic islands
are not lacking, but for some unknown cause, probably a failure of
food supply, the Eskimo have migrated thence and the islands are no
longer inhabited. In the western part of the central region the
coast appears to be uninhabited from the Coppermine River to Cape
Bathurst. To the west of the Mackenzie, Herschel Island marks the
limit of permanent occupancy by the Mackenzie Eskimo, there being no
permanent villages between that island and the settlements at Point
The intervening strip of coast is, however, undoubtedly hunted over
more or less in summer. The Point Barrow Eskimo do not penetrate far
into the interior, but farther to the south the Eskimo reach to the
headwaters of the Nunatog and Koyuk Rivers. Only visiting the coast
for trading purposes, they occupy an anomalous position among
Eskimo occupancy of the rest of the Alaska coast is practically
continuous throughout its whole extent as far to the south and east
as the Atna or Copper River, where begin the domains of the
Koluschan family. Only in two places do the Indians of the
Athapascan family intrude upon Eskimo territory, about Cook’s Inlet,
and at the mouth of Copper River.
Owing to the labors of Dall, Petroff, Nelson, Turner, Murdoch, and
others we are now pretty well informed as to the distribution of the
Eskimo in Alaska.
Nothing is said by Gallatin of the Aleutian Islanders and they were
probably not considered by him to be Eskimauan. They are now known
to belong to this family, though the Aleutian dialects are
unintelligible to the Eskimo proper. Their distribution has been
entirely changed since the advent of the Russians and the
introduction of the fur trade, and at present they occupy only a
very small portion of the islands. Formerly they were much more
numerous than at present and extended throughout the chain.
The Eskimauan family is represented in northeast Asia by the Yuit of
the Chukchi peninsula, who are to be distinguished from the
sedentary Chukchi or the Tuski of authors, the latter being of
Asiatic origin. According to Dall the former are comparatively
recent arrivals from the American continent, and, like their
brethren of America, are confined exclusively to the coast.
Principal Tribes and Villages
West coast villages:
Population.—Only a rough
approximation of the population of the Eskimo can be given, since of
some of the divisions next to nothing is known. Dall compiles the
following estimates of the Alaskan Eskimo from the most reliable
figures up to 1885: Of the Northwestern Innuit 3,100 (?), including
the Kopagmiut, Kangmaligmiut, Nuwukmiut, Nunatogmiut, Kuagmiut, the
Inguhklimiut of Little Diomede Island 40 (?), Shiwokugmiut of St.
Lawrence Island 150 (?), the Western Innuit 14,500 (?), the Aleutian
Islanders (Unungun) 2,200 (?); total of the Alaskan Innuit, about
The Central or Baffin Land Eskimo are estimated by Boas to number
From figures given by Rink, Packard, and others, the total number of
Labrador Eskimo is believed to be about 2,000.
According to Holm (1884-’85) there are about 550 Eskimo on the east
coast of Greenland. On the west coast the mission Eskimo numbered
10,122 in 1886, while the northern Greenland Eskimo, the Arctic
Highlanders of Ross, number about 200.
Thus throughout the Arctic regions generally there is a total of
Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891