Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Inuit Definition:

A person native to the Far North of North America.

Related Terms: Indian, Aboriginal, Metis

Also known as Inuk and historically known as Eskimos.

The index entry for Eskimos in Jack Woodward's law book Native Law merely reads:

"Eskimos. See Inuit"

The 1978 version of the Northwest Territories Fishery Regulations defined the related term Inuk as follows:

Inuk means a person who is a direct descendant of a person who is or was of the race of aborigines commonly referred to as Eskimos and possess at least one-quarter of Inuk blood."

The present version of this Federal regulation (2010):

"Inuk means a person who is a direct descendant of a person of the race of aborigines commonly known as Inuit." 

Note this statement of the law from Justice Mahoney in Baker Lake:

"[T]he term Indians, in Canadian constitutional law, includes the Inuit.

"In the absence of their exclusion from that term, either expressly or by compelling inference, decisions relevant to the aboriginal rights of Indians in Canada apply to the Inuit."

Also, §35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 (Canada):

"The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.

"In this Act, aboriginal peoples of Canada includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada."

In that context, note §4(1) of the Indian Act of Canada which segregates Indians from their Northern brethren, the Inuit, for the purposes of that statute:

"A reference in this Act to an Indiane does not include any person of the race of aborigines commonly referred to as Inuit."

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