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Kalaallit family, 1917
Kalaallit is the contemporary Greenlandic term for the population living in Greenlandmarker or Kalaallit Nunaat. The singular term is kalaaleq. Kalaallit are a part of the Arctic Inuit people. The language Greenlanders speak is called Kalaallisut.

Historically, Kalallit referred specifically to the people of Western Greenland. Northern and Eastern Greenlanders were (and are) called Avanersuarmiut and Tunumiit, respectively. About 80% to 88% of Greenland's population or approximately 44,000 to 50,000 people identity as being Kalaallit.


Kalaallit are considered to be descended from Dorset and Thule people, who settled Greenland in ancient times. As 84% of Greenland's land mass is covered by the Greenland ice sheet, Kalaallit live in three regions: Polar, Eastern, and Western. In the 1850s Canadian Inuit joined the Polar Inuit communities.

The Eastern Inuit or Tunumiit live in the mildest climate, known as Ammassalik, where hunters can hunt marine mammals from kayaks throughout the year.


They have a strong mask-making tradition and also are know for an art form called tupilaq or an "evil spirit object." Traditional art making practices thrive in the Ammassalik. Sperm whale ivory remains a valued medium for carving.


  1. Hessel, 8
  2. Hessel, 20
  3. Baldacchino, Geoffery. Extreme tourism: lessons from the world's cold water islands. Elsevier Science, 2006: 101. (retrieved through Google Books) ISBN 978-0080446561.
  4. Hessel, 11
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  • Hessel, Ingo. Arctic Spirit. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 2006 ISBN 978-1553651895

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