Nunavut’s Birthday is Just Around the Corner

29 Mar

The Nunavut Flag, designed by Andrew Karpik from Pangnirtung (via Wikipedia)

Nunavut’s 12th birthday is right around the corner: this Friday! Nunavut is Canada’s newest and largest territory, which came into existence in 1999 via the Nunavut Act and Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act. Creating this territory out of the Northwest Territories took over 30 years of effort: the first official suggestion that the NWT be split into two was read in the House of Commons in 1963. The Inuit Tapirisat Kanatami began pursuing the creation of Nunavut in 1971, which ultimately resulted in the creation of the territory.

MIA has a particularly strong connection to Nunavut: our Director, David Harris, was a school teacher in Kinngait (Cape Dorset) for several years before returning to Ontario and immersing himself in the Inuit art world. The museum also represents artists from across the Arctic, including Nunavut, and represents the territory’s three major regions (the Qikiqtaaluk, the Kivalliq, and the Kitikmeot) in our permanent collection.

Canadian Inuit Dog (via the Nunavut Legislative Assembly)

Want to know a little bit more about Nunavut? Check out these fast facts:

  • Nunavut means, “our land” in Inuktitut.
  • The flag, pictured above, is very symbolic: the blue and yellow represent the riches of Nunavut’s land and sea, while the red represents Canada. The inuksuk symbolizes the stone monuments that guide peoplethrough the land and mark important places. The North Star (Niqirtsuituq) is a traditional navigational guide and also symbolic of elders’ community leadership.
  • Nunavut’s official dog is the Canadian Inuit Dog (or Qimmiq). The official flower is the Purple Saxifrage (Aupilaktunnguat), and the official bird is the Rock Ptarmigan (Aqiggiq).
  • Four languages are officially used in Nunavut: Inuktitut, Inuinnqatun, English and French.
  • The population, as of October 1, 2010, is 33, 268 people; approximately 85% identify as Inuit.

Nunavut is a huge territory with a long history, and no blog post could possibly cover all of it. If you’re interested in learning more, MIA is very excited to celebrate Nunavut’s 12th birthday with programming for all ages, including special family activities and crafts all focused on Nunavut.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

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