Inuksuit or Inunnguaq?

A pretty view that and a rock structure that is becoming quite popular – but what us it?

Is it an Inuksuk?

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Inuksuk were used by the Inuit as hunting and navigational aids, coordination points, markers and message centers. Some inuksuk-like figures also had spiritual meaning and were the object of veneration.

The Inuit also built a human-like stone figure called an inunnguaq, which means “in the likeness of a human." This figure with a head, a body, legs and arms is not an inuksuk, even if it is often called so; its function is more symbolic than that of an inuksuk. The stone figure that appears on the new flag of Nunavut is an inunnguaq.

There are different types of inuksuit, but most often, an inuksuk is built by placing stone upon stone. The shape and size of the local material largely determine the looks of an inuksuk. Irregular igneous rocks and flat boulders are easier to work with and allow for an endless variety of forms.

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Now you know that the structure shown here at the upstream canal entrance to lock 5 of the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site of Canada is an inunnguaq.

All images © 2012 CKB

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One Response to Inuksuit or Inunnguaq?

  1. Siannan says:

    I thought those things were unpopularly known as niggerheads.

    Oh, you mean the pile of rocks!

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