Hunter-Gatherer Documentary: Inuit Odyssey

Inuit Odyssey follows Canadian Arctic anthropologist Niobe Thompson as he takes us on a visually stunning journey across the North, tracing the origins of the modern Inuit. In a circumpolar expedition stretching from the ancient hearth of Thule culture in Siberia to the final battleground of the Thule and the Norse in Greenland, Inuit Odyssey explores the mysteries of the Thule conquest of the Arctic. Along the way, Thompson makes some startling new scientific discoveries and challenges our stereotypes of the “peaceful Eskimo” by shedding new light on the first meeting of Asiatic and European settlers in the New World.” –CBC Canada

This short-ish (42 minute) documentary explorers the spread of the Tuuli/Inuit from Eastern Siberia, across Alaska and Canada, and eventually to Greenland during the last period of relative global warming. It touches on the importance of specialized knowledge required to hunt specific animals, and how that changes during migrations. The Tuuli migrated away from plentiful whaling and walrus grounds and through areas in which foraging for berries and fishing provided the main sources of nourishment.

There isn’t as much depth here as I would have like to seen. I could have watched about 2 additional hours of analysis on this. All the same, it’s an interesting look at a recent hunter-gatherer culture… Well worth the 42 minutes.

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There are some bloody scenes in this! In general, the cinematography does a good job of showing the beauty of parts of the Arctic.

If you watch this, I’d love to hear if you got anything useful out of it in the comments below.

3 Comments
  1. Frederick 5 years ago

    Great story about the Inuit's ancestors. Good history program for those interested in this area of the north and their cultural histories.

    • Profile photo of Andrew Author
      Andrew 5 years ago

      Yeah, I never would have guessed the pursuit of iron was a motivation for migration. I was also surprised that they accomplished it so quickly.

  2. Begümşen Ergenekon 1 year ago

    It is a pity that this documentary is only available in US. There are anthropologists all over the rest of the world also who are interested in using such material in their lectures.

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