Welcome from our Inuit Elder!
Enjoy this short video from our Inuit Elder, Lena Illasiak.
Inuit Nunangat is the Inuit homeland in Canada, encompassing the land claims regions of Nunavut, Nunavik in Northern Quebec, Nunatsiavut in Northern Labrador and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories. It is inclusive of land, water and ice, and describes an area encompassing 35 percent of Canada’s landmass and 50 percent of its coastline. It is important to note that, although there are some similarities, each Inuit region is unique in their culture, practices, and Inuttitut dialects.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)
The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is the national representational organization protecting and advancing the rights and interests of Canada’s 65,000 Inuit.
Inuit Regional Flags
Here are the official flags of each independent Inuit Region in Canada.
The Nunavut flag features a red inuksuk—a traditional Inuit land marker—and a blue star, which represents the Niqirtsuituq, the North Star, and the leadership of elders in the community. The colours blue and yellow represent the riches of the land, sea and sky.
The blue and white flag echoes the colours of the Quebec flag, and are the chief colours found in the Arctic. The design echoes shape of a bird, with feathers reaching the sky to show self-governance and freedom. The large wings represent strength and the number of feathers equals the number of communities in Nunavik. Both sides of the design promote equality, with dot representing a head, “a mind fully supported by the body,” while the top looks a bit like a person’s hands reaching upwards. The design also evokes the shape of a caribou antlers.
The flag of Nunatsiavut is the flag adopted by the Labrador Inuit Association to represent the Inuit of Labrador and their Land Claims Settlement Area called Nunatsiavut. The flag features the traditional Inuit inuksuk coloured white, blue, and green, echoing the flag of Labrador.
During the early days of land claims negotiation, the Inuvialuit chose the gyrfalcon, an impressive and powerful bird, as their symbol. This was a time when the endangered bird’s population was beginning to regenerate. Like the gyrfalcon, the Inuvialuit are resilient. A new era began on June 5, 1984, when the Inuvialuit Final Agreement was signed and their cultural, environmental and economic aspirations were formalized.
Inuit Soapstone Carving
Priscilla Boulay was born and raised in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, where she began her mastery of Inuit soapstone sculpting. There are many different styles and traditions of Inuit soapstone carving, depending on the region they come from. As well, methods have changed with time, and artists now utilize modern tools. In the videos below, Priscilla takes us inside her Alberta studio to share with us some of her work from the Inuvialuit tradition.
You can visit Priscilla on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/InuvialuitCarver/
Here are just a few Inuit designers in the Calgary area that have their creations available for sale. Your support is greatly appreciated!
Qaumajuq: It is Bright, it is lit.
Qaumajuq opened in March 2021 as part of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It is an innovative museum, and home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.
Click here for more information about Qaumajuq » WAG
Websites of Interest
Traditionally, Inuit engaged in games which tested strength, agility, endurance, and pain resistance – skills necessary for everyday survival in the harsh environment! Learn more in the video below!
Inuit Throat Singing
In traditional katajjaq, also known as Inuit throat singing, two women stand face to face and perform a duet that doubles as something of a musical battle. Chanting in rhythm, they attempt to outlast one another, each waiting for any crack in the pace of her opponent – whether in the form of loss of breath, fatigue or laughter [Aeon Video, 2019]. Visits these links to learn more!
Movies/Videos of Interest
The following is a short list of some of the great Inuit movies, documentaries and videos available. We encourage you to check them out!
Kakiniit: Inuit Tattoos
Traditionally, Inuit women received tattoos to represent something of significance in their lives, from marriage to children or spiritual beliefs. The practice was forbidden by Christian missionaries a century ago, and the traditions were almost lost. In recent years, the practice has been revitalized as young Inuk women reclaim their culture and traditions. See the video below to learn more about this reclamation.
Inuit musicians offer more than just traditional music. We invite you to check out the following artists on Spotify and YouTube to hear more!
- Beatrice Deer
- Becky Han
- Celina Kalluk
- Josef Tarrak
- Joshua Haulli
- Kelly Fraser
- Looee Arreak
- Northern Haze
- Saali & the Ravenhearts
- Silla and Rise
- Susan Aglukark
- Tanya Tagaq
- The Jerry Cans
- Twin Flames
The following is just a small sample of the many books available written about, and by, Inuk people.
- The Right to be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
- Life Among the Qallunaat by Mini Aodla Freeman
- Reawakening our Ancestors’ Lines by Hovak Johnston
- Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq
- Qikaaluktut Images of Inuit Life by Ruth Annaqtuusi Tulurialik and David F. Pelly
- Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth: Gender, Shamanism, and the Third Sex by Bernard Saladin d’Anglur
- Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk
- The Blind Boy and the Loon by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril
- A Promise is a Promise by Michael Kusugak and Robert Munsch
- Baseball Bats for Christmas by Michael Kusugak
- Hide and Sneak by Michael Kusugak
- The Littlest Sled Dog by Michael Kusugak
- When I was 8 by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
- Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails by Michael Kusugak
- Elisapee and Her Baby Seagull by Nancy Mike
- Not my Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton
- The Fox Wife by Beatrice Deer
- Una Huna? What Is This? By Susan Aglukark
- Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Inuit have a vast oral tradition that varies from region to region. There are stories depicting spiritual beliefs, those that teach a lesson, and some that explain creation. Click the link below to enjoy the classic Inuit legend of The Owl and The Raven.
One of the most famous Inuit stories is that of Sedna, guardian of the sea. In the video below, Aurora Broomfield shares with us just one version of that story.
The following are a few more resources that may be of interest to you.
- Heather Campbell, Nunatsiavut Inuit Artist
- Tristan Morgan, Iñupiaq Contemporary Artist
- Inuit Games
- Reclaiming Inuit culture, one tattoo at a time
- Voices of Inuit
- Inuit Myth and Legend
- Reflections of a disk-less Inuk on Canada’s Eskimo identification system
Qikiqtani Truth Commission: Thematic Reports and Special Studies
- ‘We called it ‘Prison Island’: Inuk man remembers forced relocation to Grise Fiord
- ‘Dark chapter in our history’: federal gov’t apologizes to Ahiarmiut for forced relocations
A very special thank you to the members of the Calgarymiut Inuit Planning Committee for volunteering their time and knowledge to make this year’s virtual event a success! Members include:
- Aurora Williams-Broomfield
- Brye Robertson
- Lena Illasiak
- Mackenzie Broomfield
- Mary Ann Forbes
June 21 -26, 2021
“Keeping the Circle Strong, Through our Traditional Knowledge Keepers and honoring our modern-day warriors.”
June 26, 2021, (Saturday)
Celebrating Family Day Event
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