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Inuksuit - Signposts of the North
An "inuksuk" (pronounced "in-uk-shuk") is a monument used for communication and survival that is usually made of un-worked stones.
Such a marker is of considerable importance on a landscape that could be otherwise featureless or constantly changing because of ice and snow. These "signposts" were essential for survival and Inuit tradition forbids their destruction.
An inuksuk-like monument in the form of a human being is called an inunnguaq (an imitation of a person). These seem to have been a recent development and many inunnguat (plural) are being built by non-Inuit but are incorrectly called inuksuit.
When the people of Nunavut created a flag for Canada's new territory in 1999, an inuksuk was chosen as a symbol because of its importance as a guide to people on the land and a marker of sacred and special places. The inuksuk has now become a prominant symbol of the Arctic and is featured on t-shirts and souvenirs.
Recently, a design resembling an inunnguaq (mistakenly called an inuksuk) was chosen as the symbol for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada.
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