Since 1977, the indigenous peoples living in the coldest reaches of North America, Greenland, and Siberia have formally referred to themselves as Inuit (sometimes spelled “Innuit”), even though the inhabitants of this icy—but increasingly thawing—part of the planet also self-identify as Inupiat, Yupik, Inuvialuit, and Kalaallit. Here in the warmer regions of the Western world, we have long called these people Eskimos, a word which has its roots in the Montagnais language of the Innu people (no relation to the Inuit) in what is now Quebec.

Some Inuit are fine with the word Eskimo, others are not. Regardless, the decorative and traditional objects made by circumpolar peoples, as well as those in western Alaska (the Aleut) and southeastern Alaska and southwestern Canada (the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian), often get lumped under the heading of Eskimo art. But the range of such pieces is not as uniform as their shared label of convenience would suggest, reflecting the diversity and unique aesthetic histories of their creators.

This range can be most easily seen in the differences between sculptural pieces. For example, the rounded, chunky soapstone figurines of 20th-century Inuit artists bear little resemblance to the ethereal spirit masks of their predecessors. Similarly, wood carvings by Haida artists appear realistic when compared to those of the Tlingit and Tsimshian, whose motifs are more abstracted, cartoony, or graphic.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

First American Art

First American Art

The companion website to First American Art: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art, which… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Nice Cedar Native Northwest Coast Hawkman MaskAlaskan Eskimo Pacific Northwest Basket Native American Indian Fine Weave-beads!Cute Inuit Carved Small Dancing Bear From Cape Dorset SignedExtra Large Native Northwest Coast Cedar Warrior Mask SignedAntique Northwest Coast Native American Indian Tlingit Painted Hide Shaman DrumVintage Canadian Inuit Indian Soapstone Carved Statue Figurine Hunter Folk ArtOld Inuit Stone Carving Figural Signed Native Eskimo Aboriginal Tribal Art VgcEskimo Artifact Fossilized Walrus Scrimshaw On Stand 3 5/8"Inuit Hand Carved Whale Bone SculptureLarge Northwest Coast Bear Mother Totem Pole SignedNice Wild Woman Northwest Coast Cedar Mask SignedInuit Art Eskimo Carving Inupiaq Hunter By Levi Tetpon B. 1934 Wonderful MediumsEarly Inukjuak Inuit Art Eskimo Carving W/old 1960's Coa Tag Great Condition Northwest Coast Art - Tlingit 16x20 Canvas - Original PaintingRay Williams Northwest Coast Native Cedar Totem PoleNative Northwest Coast Bear MaskNice Large Northwest Coast Cedar Beaver Totem PoleTwo Antique Eskimo Inuit Artifacts Fossil Combs.Old Antique Carved Caribou Bone Pendant Bead Fertility Charm Inuit Indian AlaskaVintage Inuit Totem Pole Tlingit Style Haida Argillite Statue Animal Figure Old Vintage Antique Carved Caribou Bone Hair Pin Food Pick Alaska Inuit IndianOld Vintage Antique Carved Bovine Bone Fish Head, Hair Pins Alaska/inuit/indianVintage Madame Alexander Eskimo Doll. Bent Knee Antique Carved Caribou Bone Wood Pendant Beads Charms Inuit Indian Alaska CanadaVtg Inuit Yupik Alaskan Eskimo Dog Sled Figurine Sculpture Intricately CarvedVtg Alaska Eskimo Carving - Winking Alaskan Billiken ;-) - I Think It's A FossilVintage Old Inuit Eskimo Yupik Carved Antler Dog Sled With 5 Dogs Link BraceletPair Antique Carved Caribou Bone Fish Pendant Beads Charms Alaska Inuit IndianAntique Carved Caribou Bone Pendant Beads Charms Fish Star Inuit Indian AlaskaVintage Yupik/inuit Eskimo Handmade Large Grass Basket With Lid Eskimo KayakLarge 23" Inuit Eskimo Kayak With Stunning Detail Inuit Hunter Hunting KayakLot Antique Inuit Alaskan Awl,fishhooks,lures Caribou Bone Artifact Eskimo 1800sVintage Yupik Inuit Eskimo Handmade Grass Wall Hanging Large Hand Sewn Tapistry Animals Made By Inuit On The Hudson Bay Lowlands Northwest Coast Bc Canada First Nation Indigenous Art Hokhokw Rattle Carving4 Vintage Inuit Carved Animal Figures Seal Rabbit Husky PuffinAnac Certified Eskimo Medium Woven Grass Basket With Lid - AlaskaNorthwest Coast Makah Cedar Carved Killer WhaleVintage Inuit Art Eskimo Original Helen Kalvak Print 1901-1984 Order Of CanadaNice Old Northwest Coast Totem PoleRare Vintage Inuit Art Eskimo Carving By Tivi Etok B.1928 George River Ex. Cond.Vintage Inuit Carved Eskimo Figure With SnowshoesVintage 1980 C Alan Johnson Ad29 "danny" Alaskan Eskimo Child Figurine - MintNorthwest Coast Haida Raven MaskHaida Carved Wood Raven Northwest Coast Art Larry Niel BarnesVintage C Alan Johnson Pottery Figurine - Alaskan Eskimo Seal Hunter 1962Bill Guiboche Original Ojibwa Painting Otter-fisher-wessle? Signed + DatedMusk Ox ! Soapstone Carving Art Sculpture Inuit Direct From Artist Canada Wendy Lawton Nalauqataq Eskimo DollVintage Eskimo Inuit Doll 16" Tall - Hand Carved Wood Face - Rare AntiqueWest Coast Ray Wesley Tsimshian Skeena River Eagle Wood Carved 5x8" Cedar PlaqueEskimo Native Handcraft From Alaska Eskimo Hunter In KayakEarly 20th Century Inuit Soapstone Carving - Leah ShidlooBeautiful Native Alaska Eskimo Inuit Yupik Knob Top Basket Hooper BayInuit Eskimo Style Polar Bear Figure Carving Hardstone Small Blue Inset EyesVintage Heavy Carved Soapstone Inuit Eskimo Mother W/papoose Statue-from CanadaNorthwest Coast Art - Tlingit Contemporary Canvas - Original PaintingVintage School 1930's Poster Set Eskimo Life, Bess Bruce Cleveland, Ideal SchoolAlaskan Hand Made Eskimo Ulu Stainless Steel Petrified Walrus Rib & Moose Antler