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Biskop Sofie Petersen, Grønland.jpg
Bishop Sofie Petersen,
first Inuit Lutheran bishop
Total population
51,349 (2012)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Kalaallisut and Danish[1][2]
Inuit religion, Evangelical Lutheran[1]
Related ethnic groups
other Greenlandic Inuit

Kalaallit make up the largest group among the Greenlandic Inuit, and are concentrated in Western Greenland. The term is the contemporary term in the Kalaallisut language for the indigenous people living in Greenland, also called the Kalaallit Nunaat.[3] The singular term is kalaaleq. The Kalaallit are a part of the Arctic Inuit people. The language spoken by Inuit in Greenland is Kalaallisut.

Historically, Kalaallit referred specifically to the people of Western Greenland. Northern and Eastern Greenlanders call themselves Avanersuarmiut and Tunumiit, respectively. About 80% to 88% of Greenland's population, or approximately 44,000 to 50,000 people identify as being Inuit.[4][5]


Kalaallit are 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 the Canadian Inuit joined the Polar Inuit communities.[6]

The Eastern Inuit, or Tunumiit, live in the area with the mildest climate, a territory called Ammassalik. Hunters can hunt marine mammals from kayaks throughout the year.[6]


The Kalaallit have a strong artistic tradition based on sewing animal skins and making masks. They are also known for an art form of figures called tupilaq or an "evil spirit object." Traditional art-making practices thrive in the Ammassalik.[4] Sperm whale ivory remains a valued medium for carving.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Greenland." CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 6 Aug 2012.
  2. ^ "Inuktitut, Greenlandic." Ethnologue. Retrieved 6 Aug 2012.
  3. ^ Hessel, 8
  4. ^ a b Hessel, 20
  5. ^ Baldacchino, Geoffery. "Extreme tourism: lessons from the world's cold water islands", Elsevier Science, 2006: 101. (retrieved through Google Books) ISBN 978-0-08-044656-1.
  6. ^ a b Hessel, 11
  7. ^ Hessel, 21


External links[edit]