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The flag of the Nuvanut nation in Canada features a field that is half yellow, half white, decorated with a blue star in the upper right-hand corner. A powerful looking pile of rocks, known as an inukshuk, dominates the middle of the flag. These items are built by the Inuit peoples of the Canadian arctic, and as it is the official logo of the 2010 Winter Olympics, they have been garnering a great deal of attention lately. The logo has found its way onto all types of promotional materials, clothing items, and so on. Many tourists to Vancouver have also been making informal inukshuit (the plural of inukshuk) out of materials along beaches in and around the area. Of course, some have raised questions about the nature of this particular inukshuk. Peter Irniq, who has built many of these symbols over the years, says that the logo looks suspiciously human. Irniq says that an inukshuk would almost never take this form unless it was being used to indicate that someone had committed suicide or murdered someone at that particular location. Regardless, the building of inukshuit continue, and the Vancouver Aquarium recently unveiled a 10-foot high inukshuk made out of 4368 cans of sustainably fished salmon and tuna.
The first link will take users to a National Public Radio segment from last week about the inukshuk's different variations. The second link leads visitors to a Wall Street Journal article from February 22 about the traditional and non-traditional forms of the inukshuk. Moving on, the third link leads to a piece from the Los Angeles Times which reports on the inukshuk-building style of one Zdzislaw "Ziggy" Groszek, an unemployed Polish maintenance man. The fourth link leads to a project on the Inuit offered up by the Olympic Heights School in Calgary done in the spirit of intellectual inquiry and in tribute to the Winter Olympics. The fifth link leads to a "History by the Minute" feature from the Canadian government on the inukshuk. Finally, the last link leads to an online exhibit from the Canadian Museum of Civilization that talks about "Places of Power" in Inuit society.