Vancouver has chosen the Inukshuk ("Ilanaaq") as emblem for the 2010 Canadian Olympics, joining Toronto realtor Julie Kinnear in celebrating Inukshuk philosophy.
As a strong Canadian Olympics and sport supporter, Julie has graciously given her blessing to this use of what has been her business symbol since 2001.
The Inukshuk, and what it means to us.
An "inukshuk"[plural: inuksuit], is an Inuit word that literally translated means "stone man that points the way." Inukshuks are stone cairns that were erected by Inuit at prominent locations throughout the barrens to serve as guideposts or markers. They were also erected to help herd caribou during their annual migration towards where they could be more easily hunted by the ancient Inuit.
Lifelike figures of rock, they are erected by the Inuit and stand along Canada's most northern shores. They are Inukshuk (pronounced In-OOK-Shook), which is an Inuit word meaning "in the image of man".
Guiding you home... the Inukshuk has always felt special to us. They are awesome, as the sheer size is overwhelming. The Inukshuk symbolism is far reaching - they were a beacon to those looking for the right direction and a safe passage.
Inukshuks can now be seen in people's gardens and yards, on the shores by their cottages, out front of condominiums, in the boardroom. There are stunning pieces of art in all shapes & sizes, from silver coins to mini rock figurines, to gorgeous oil paintings.
Our team has chosen the Inukshuk to symbolize our business. We are here to guide you safely and comfortably through the sale and/or purchase of your cherished asset, your home. We are not just here for today but for life. Our goal is to employ our combined experience and expertise to assist you to realize your housing dreams.
West End, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Text from the plaque to be found at the foot of this statue situated at the southern end of English Bay Beach.
"Ancient symbols of Inuit culture traditionally used as landmarks and navigation aids, this grey granite statue representing a human form with outstretched arms is a well-known symbol in Canada of northern hospitality and friendship.
Constructed originally by Alvin Kanak of Rankin Inlet, this monument was commissioned by the Government of the Northwest Territories for its pavilion at Expo 86, and given to the City of Vancouver
It represents a good symbol for a northern planner. It comes from the land and remains part of the land. The purpose is clear, to show direction and guide the way. If we prepare good plans built on a solid foundation of scientific and local knowledge, common goals can be achieved. In simple terms the "inukshuk" reflects the philosophy of the company principals.
In a recent review of the book in the journal Arctic, Callum Thomson quotes the author as follows:
The inuksuk...is a metaphor. It reminds [the elders] of the time when people were attached to the land by an unbroken thread of reference, when they created great dancing circles, built fish weirs, placed huge inuksuit on hilltops, made traps to catch the most cunning animals, and communicated by rearranging or shaping fragments of the landscape."
Those interested in learning more about the Inuksuit are encouraged to read a new book, Insuksuit: Silent Messengers of the Arctic by Norman Hallendy; Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd and Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000.
More inukshuk photos. Click on the photographs above to see larger versions and read the story about the picture.
New Inukshuk Images - Send your own Inukshuk images in!
Click to see a bigger version and more information about the image.
For more spectacular photographs of the Arctic including Inuksuit, you should visit Arctic Kingdom.
Travel to the Arctic if you want the incredible experience of seeing Inuksuit in their native environment.
I wanted to let you know that my parents were one of the first Inuit art dealers in North America, starting their first business (inukshuk galleries) in the Waterloo Region in the 1970's. My mother and father both had their own businesses and my mother remains an incredible force in the Native art community with her very large gallery in Stratford called Gallery Indigena, and her second location in Vancouver, which kept the name of the original family business, Inukshuk Gallery. My mother, Erla Boyer, is truly the authority in this field. On her website, this testimonial is posted: "For more than 40 years, Gallery Indigena has been a major centre for Canadian indigenous art. Erla Boyer left a teaching position in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology to open a gallery of Canadian indigenous art. Erla expresses a love and enthusiasm for native people and their creative work which is reflected in the gallery itself and in her deep involvement with the artists of Canada's First Nations.” Patti Socha
World's Tallest Inukshuk is in Ontario - Meet Little Joe
Ontario is home to the world's tallest Inukshuk. According to the Guinness World Record it measures 11.377 metres tall (37 ft 3.9 in) by 8 metres wide, weighing 82,000 kg and was created by Mr. Jose Melo of Allstone Quarry Products Inc. (Canada) in Schomberg, Ontario, Canada on 13 September 2007.