My very first vision of these miniature inukshuk rock sculptures, that I knew nothing about at the time, was as we were completing our walk around the sea wall in Vancouver's Stanley Park on the Northshore/ English Bay side. The sun was going down, there were many folks out enjoying the serenity of a summer evening and all of a sudden there they were, little rock sculptures perched atop large boulders as you see in the photo above! At the time, my camera battery had run out, so I returned another day to capture some of the magic!
As it turns out, true inukshuk are actually quite large like the one seen above, and someone at some point decided to have fun making small ones. The idea caught on, and the results are fabulous. The little sculptures are simply rocks balanced on one another, so I can't imagine that they last for long with the crashing waves and tides. This means that everyday people have fun making more of these little sculptures! A reference perhaps to the balancing act that is called life?
Below is the text casted on the plaque at the bottom of the statue seen above:
"Ancient symbols of Inuit culture traditionally used as landmarks and navigation aids, this grey granite statue representing a human form with outstretched arms is a well-known symbol in Canada of northern hospitality and friendship. Constructed originally by Alvin Kanak of Rankin Inlet, this monument was commissioned by the Government of the Northwest Territories for its pavilion at Expo 86, and given to the City of Vancouver.
An inukshuk (in-OOK-shook) is a carefully balanced pile of unworked rocks and slabs. The Inuit have built them through time to guide travelers, assist with hunts, warn of danger or indicate caches of food. A miniature version stands hip-high, with others measuring 3 to 6 feet tall (1 to 2 meters).
First Nations peoples in Arctic regions from Alaska to Greenland also used such markers, and they can be found elsewhere around the world, including one on the summit of Pike's Peak, in Colorado, and elsewhere in the western United States, where they were built by Navajo and other Native Americans.
In the Inuit culture, inuksuit played a key role for the nomadic people in the frozen, unforgiving climate of northern Canada and were built to withstand winds of more than 90 mph (150 kilometers).
A mother and son give mini-inukshuk building a try.
The stretch along English Bay leading to the site of mini inukshuk that I photographed.
My daughter experimented with inukshuk on our 4 day beach get-away in another location (more on that later!)
So next time you're at the beach, namely a rocky beach, give inukshuk a try, or why not build some in the garden, its so much fun! If one wants to preserve the works as mini garden art, simply glue the rocks together with some strong glue, a little cement or if the rocks are smallish, silicone will work as well. Enjoy!