Though the white man introduced new technologies and market and credit economies to the Inuvialuit that made their lives easier, the white man also introduced liquor and new diseases which had profound negative effects on the lives of the native people.

Before 1888, few whites had visited the western Arctic and the Inuvialuit had not built up immunity to common European illnesses. The whalers brought venereal diseases, measles, and influenza. The Inuvialuit had no resistance to these diseases and died in appalling numbers. By the mid 1890s, the effect on the population of the Mackenzie Inuvialuit was evident.
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