Inuit are the indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the northern circumpolar region from eastern Siberia (Russia), across Alaska (United States), Canada, and Greenland.
While since the late 20th-century numerous indigenous people viewed the use of the term “Eskimo” as offensive, because it was used by people who discriminated against them, in its linguistic origins the word did not have an offensive meaning. Alternative terms, such as Inuit-Yupik, have been proposed, but none has gained widespread acceptance.
In Canada and Greenland, the term “Eskimo” has fallen out of favor as pejorative and has been widely replaced by the term “Inuit”, “Alaska Natives”, or terms specific to a particular tribe. However, under U.S. and Alaskan law (as well as the linguistic and cultural traditions of Alaska) “Alaska Native” refers to all indigenous peoples of Alaska.
The term “Alaska Native” also includes groups such as the Aleut, who share a recent ancestor with the Inupiat and Yupik groups, and also includes the largely unrelated indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and theDene, who descend from other, unrelated major language and ethnic groups.