An Ancient Bond with the Land
A Warm House
Most Inuit did not live in snow houses. In summer, the majority of people lived in skin tents. In winter, they lived in houses framed in driftwood or whalebone, insulated with sod on the outside. Inuit architecture was based on the principle that warm air rises. Winter houses thus had a "cold trap" entrance set well below ground level to keep out drafts. A raised sleeping platform was the warmest part of the house. Here people slept, ate and socialized.
Wood was rarely burned as fuel. This was because driftwood was scarce, and also because an open fire produced too much smoke in an enclosed house. Heat and light were usually provided by burning sea mammal blubber in a shallow dish-shaped lamp, or qulliq.