It is hypothesized that the nomadic Inuit people originated in northeastern Siberia. Some time around 2,000 BC they began to migrate eastward across the Bering Straits to Alaska and then across northern Canada to Greeenland. This migration may have taken as long as 1,000 years. Today, most Inuit people have given up their nomadic lifestyle and live in settled communities. The name Inuit means "the people." Eskimo is a derogatory word in Algonquian which means "eater of raw flesh."
The Eskimo-Aleut family consists of a continuum of languages/dialects spoken by close to 100,000 (150,000 in some estimates) people who live in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, and in an area stretching along the Aleutian Islands into Siberia. It is one of the most geographically spread language families in the world.Status
According to Ethnologue, there are 11 members of the Eskimo-Aleut language family, one of them extinct, that can be classified into three branches: Aleut, Eskimo, and Yupik. The table below shows the names of the language varieties, number of speakers, and geographic distribution. Greenland and Denmark have the largest number of speakers (about 54,000), followed by Canada (about 35,000). The language is all but extinct in Russia with only a thousand or so speakers remaining.