2010 Winter Olympic Games, Australia's Bicentenary, Baffin Island, Battery Park - Toronto, Brisbane, Canadian Embassy - DC, Hans Island, Inukshuk, Inuksuk Point, Monterrey - Mexico, Norwegian Centenary, Nunavut, Oslo, Peter Imiq
It’s hot and humid in our neck of the woods, so we’re celebrating the Arctic to chill out.
We built a rough stone cairn – an Inukshuk – and we’re taking our tea beside it.
Inukshuk are built by the peoples of Canada’s high Arctic regions and by the inhabitants of nations sitting atop the Arctic Circle. This pile of stones erected without benefit of adhesives is the mainstay of tundra travel. Tundras lack any discerning physical characteristic, so their singular feature are the Inukshuk – a navigation tool, a point of reference, a communication tool – FaceBook, Twitter and blog rolled into one platform of the high Arctic.
These architectural forms are perhaps the oldest objects humans have placed on the Arctic landscape. The form can be short or tall, skinny or fat, one stone or many stones – each form tells a distinct story. For example, a form with arms or legs lead to an open channel for navigation, or a valley for passage through the mountains. A form without arms is a marker for a cache of food.
Peter Imiq, Inuit cultural activist, explains the meaning of the Inukshuk.
Some interesting Inukshuk factoids:
- There are over 100 Inukshuk at Inuksuk Point, on Baffin Island. In1969, Canada declared the area a National Historic Site.
- Inukshuk are also a cultural symbol. For example, an Inuksuk (singular of Inukshuk) is on the flag and on the coat of arms of Nunavut Territory.
- On July 13, 2005, Canadian military erected an Inuksuk on Hans Island to one up Denmark with whom Canada has a longstanding beef over the small Arctic island.
- Inukshuk have been erected throughout Canada to commemorate special events:
Battery Park, on Toronto’s lake shore for World Youth Day in 2002.
Vancouver for Expo 86
Whistler Mountain north of Vancouver for 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Lamoureux Park, Cornwall, ON, to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Olympic torch passage through town
- Officials in various wilderness parks throughout Canada routinely dismantle Inukshuk constructed by hikers and campers, for fear that they could misdirect park visitors from other markers that indicate hiking trails.
- There are a couple of authentic Inukshuk gifted by the government of Canada around the world: