Eskimo, the name given to a group of peoples living in Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, and the Chukchi Peninsula of northeastern Siberia. The name was long thought to have come from an Algonquian Indian word meaning eaters of raw meat. However, it is now believed to have originated with the Montagnais Indians, a northern Canadian tribe, and may mean snowshoe-netter.

Eskimo clothingEskimo clothing was made from animal skins.

At one time, the name was applied only to the people living on the Arctic coast of North America, but eventually all similar peoples came to be called Eskimos. The name is not used by Eskimos themselves. Most North American Eskimos call themselves Inuit (meaning people in their language). This term is used as their official designation by the Canadian government. The Eskimos who live in Siberia and St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea call themselves Yuit (also meaning people). Although the name Eskimo is commonly used in Alaska, the name Inupiat is given to those who live in the north and northwest and Yupik to those in the southwest. Eskimos in Greenland call themselves both Inuit and Kalaallit.