Sunday afternoon turned out to be the perfect day to spend doing an indoor activity with the girls. The rain finally came down in thick sheets after weeks of a heat wave and dry spell.
With our bag full of rocks which we recently collected at our local ‘Cherry Beach’, we decided to create our very own miniature Inukshuks (also known as Inuksuk and Inuksuit (pl.) by the Nunavut and Government of Canada through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada). To be culturally respectful, I will refer to them as Inuksuk (singular) and Inuksuit (plural) from here on in.
According to Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuksuk, an inukshuk, for those who are not already familiar is a:
‘..stone landmark or cairn built by humans… used by the Inuit…. and other people fo the Artic regions of North America for [the purposes] of navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, places of veneration, drift fences used in hunting or as a food cache… The word inuksuk means “something which acts for or performs the function of a person”. ‘
For more intorductory info on the Inuit usage of Inukshuks/Inuksuit, you can check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuksuk as well as http://www.inukshukgallery.com/inukshuk.html.
J’s kindergarten teacher introduced her class to the ‘Inukshuk’ and other rock art in the last few days of school, after they had gone to the beach for some fun in the sun and sand. Here is a piece of J’s personal rock art that she created with some of the collected rocks.
Unfortunately, we missed the original ‘Inukshuk’ building activity as we were returning from a camping trip in Killbear (more on this later!) with the family around that time. However, we did happen to see a lot of examples of ‘Inukshuks’ along the driving route, and were eager to make our own when we returned.
Here are some examples of Inunnguat (pl.) or Inunnguag (sing.), which is essentially a rock sculpture depicting a human figure and that is commonly mistaken as an ‘Inukshuk’:
Inukshuk, 95. Photo credit: www.cbantlerart.com
Inukshuk – Kuujjuaraapik January, Inuksuk in the vicinity of Kuujjuarapik, Canada. Photo credit: Nicolas M. Perrault
Before we started creating our own ‘Inukshuks’, I was not aware of all the potential types of rock sculptures that are often misrepresented as Inuksuit (e.g. the Inunnguat pictured above). For a more complete appreciation of Inuit rock creations that the Inuit of North America have created and used as markers for thousands of years and what the Inukshuks are, you can watch this short clip by Peter Irniq, an Inuit cultural activist, which explains the meaning of an Inukshuk in What is an Inukshuk here: : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKQ97rOwBH0&feature=related
Here are some photos of the miniature Inuksuit we created:
If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to build your own Inuksuit , I also found this clip 2010 – How to build an Inukshuk (@hofstadlyceum.nl) quite enjoyable to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf25KoI6CnY&feature=related
Happy Inuksuk building!
– “You are on the right path.” (Traditional meaning of Inuksuk.)