The Inuit tales were right about those great big shy guys who came before

The Great Big Shy Guys…..

lara trace hentz

When science meets aboriginal oral history

University of Toronto archaeology professor Max Friesen with a cast of a Dorset tooth.

Marta Iwanek / Toronto Star Order this photo/ University of Toronto archaeology professor Max Friesen with a cast of a Dorset tooth.

In Inuit oral history, the Tuniit loom both large and small.

They inhabited the Arctic before the Inuit came, and they were a different stock of people — taller and stronger, with the muscularity of polar bears, the stories say. A Tuniit man could lift a 1,000 pound seal on his back, or drag a whole walrus. Others say the Tuniit slept with their legs in the air to drain the blood from their feet and make them lighter, so they could outrun a caribou.

But despite their superior strength and size, the Tuniit were shy. They were “easily put to flight and it was seldom heard that they killed others,” according to one…

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