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Inuksuit are stone markers that act in place of humans. The tradition of building Inuksuit is ancient and these statues of the Arctic are an iconic part of Canada's history. An Inuksuk can provide directions, tell others about good hunting or fishing and mark a special resting place. Depending on how and where they are built, an Inuksuk can have many meanings. This book takes the reader through all of the steps to building their own Inuksuk. Details are provided about the building process, types of stones, preparation of stones and placement of the Inuksuk. In addition to the technical details of buidling these symbols, the book contains personal memories by Inuit elders about Inuksuit. These stories of respect and friendship offer human insight into the significance of these age-old icons.
This book would make an excellent addition to any social studies or aboriginal studies unit where children are learning about how symbols associated with Canada's landscape are used to preserve and transmit culture. Students could read the book and then build their own small Inuksuk, assigning their personal meaning to their structure. Students could also select one of the types of Inuksuit from the book and recreate the structure at school. For example, a directional Inuksuk could be built at the front of the school indicating the entrance. A First Nations community member could also come to the class to teach students about other traditional communication methods.
The short stories contained in the book would be a worthwhile starting point for a creative writing activity where students create their own stories with an Inuksuk as the focal point of the tale.
The Inuksuk is also an art form that containes elements of our natural world, thus this book supports visual arts outcomes. Students can explore three-dimensional art by building their own Inuksuk. They can also describe how art is created and used for purposes other than aesthetics. This art form is a traditional craft and students could explore the links between art and culture by learning about the Inuksuit.
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