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Skrælings - Inuits and Indians

Skræling is the word Norse Greenlanders used for the Inuit tribes they encountered on Greenland. The Inuit tribes ‘Thule’ and ‘Dorset’ certainly had contact with the Vikings living in Greenland.

In the Icelandic Sagas, Skrælingar are also mentioned when some of the Norse Greenlanders encountered an unknown people in Vinland. L’Anse-Aux-Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada could be the site of the "Vinland" mentioned in the Sagas. If Newfoundland is the site of Vinland the people the Vikings encountered there would be the Beothuk peoples. Historians are not certain where the word comes from. However, the best speculation is that the word probably comes from the Old Norse word ‘skrá’ which means "skin". The Inuit peoples the Norse Greenlanders came in contact with wore clothes made of animal skins, while the Norsemen wore woven wool.

In the modern Icelandic language, ‘skrælingi’ means a barbarian or foreigner. ‘Skræling’ in modern Norwegian means ‘weakling’.