A striking photograph of an Inuit girl taken at the beginning of the 20th century made me think of the situation indigenous cultures find themselves in. With the world changing so fast how are they coping?
The Inuit (the appropriate name to be used for the people who inhabit the Arctic is not agreed, see below) at that time were having increasing contact with whalers, hunters and the explorers seeking the north west passage. As always in these situations their way of life was threatened. The conditions they lived in were so extreme that until then there had been virtually no contact with European settlers. There were some advantages for the Inuit to be had from this contact, the acquisition of pots and pans for example made life much easier. However there were also alcohol, guns and infectious diseases like measles which killed many and destabilized their society.
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