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Igloo History

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Igloo, also spelled iglu, also called aputiak, igloo [Credit: © Fred Bruemmer]temporary winter home or hunting-ground dwelling of Canadian and Greenland Inuit (Eskimos). The term igloo, or iglu, from Eskimo igdlu (“house”), is related to Iglulik, a town, and Iglulirmiut, an Inuit people, both on an island of the same name. The igloo, usually made from blocks of snow and dome-shaped, is used only in the area between the Mackenzie River delta and Labrador where, in the summer, Inuit live in sealskin or, more recently, cloth tents.

To build the igloo, the builder takes a deep snowdrift of fine-grained, compact snow and cuts it into blocks with a snow knife, a swordlike instrument originally made of bone but now usually of metal. Each block
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