THE ESKIMOS are a Mongol race, with the straight black hair, slant eyes, and dark irises which characterize that great division of the human family. They occupy a strip of country for the most part north of the Arctic Circle, extending from the East Cape of Siberia to Greenland. Their most northerly extremity is at Smith Sound in northern Greenland at about Latitude 80°, while their most southerly extension reaches into the lower Kuskokwim Valley in Alaska around Latitude 60°.
Knud Rasmussen estimates that the Eskimos total no more than 33,000 souls, which, he adds, "represents, perhaps, the outside number of persons who can gain their livelihood by hunting in a country so forbidding." These 33,000 people he subdivides into 14,000 Alaskan Eskimos, 13,000 Greenlandic Eskimos, 5,000 Canadian Eskimos, and 1,000 Siberian Eskimos. This book does not contribute to the knowledge of the original mores of any of these people. For this the reader is referred to the splendid studies of Rink, Boas, Thalbitzer, Stefansson, Jenness, Rasmussen, Freuchen, Hrdlicka, and others. In the Koyukuk the Eskimos without exception have been influenced by the culture of an entirely different race with which many of them have been living for over thirty years.