Faces of the North

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If traditional art could talk, what would it say?

1. Stone carving by Patrick Harrison of Inuvik
2. Doll with rabbit fur by Sharon Green of Paulatuk.
3. Stone bear by Derald Taylor of Tuktoyaktuk.
4. Whalebone sculpture by Francis Ruben of Paualtuk.
5. Mother and child (detail) by Ron Taylor of Tuktoyaktuk
6. Hand-sewn rabbit fur and felt medallion by Bessie Inuktalik of Inuvik

(Thanks to Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, which showcases local art.)

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7 responses to “Faces of the North

  1. Have the inuit in the western arctic adopted quallunat names or are the artist who’s work you are highlighting quallunat (except for Bessie Inuktalik)? I ask because I don’t know of any quallunat on this side of the arctic engaging in and selling carvings.

  2. I tried had to search on Google and find out what “Quallunat names,” meant — am I correct in saying it means white people?

    In that case, I do not know — but oftentimes aboriginal people will have names that don’t sound particularly aboriginal. Mr. Green, Mr. Ruben, Mr. Allen, etc.

    Since their work is being sold by IRC the artists are Inuvialuit.

  3. interesting TOP pic, is that ” spinich” jade?
    i didnt know they had that stone that far north.
    its abundant here along the california coast.

  4. Most of the stone carved by local artists is actually imported, it’s true. The green stuff was described as “Brazilian soapstone.”

    A lot of seemingly traditional art uses imported elements which are only available in modern times.

  5. your assumption is correct phil. here is another one for you then. Inuit friends I have here say that western arctic, greenland and Alaskan Inuit all have different dialects from the local eastern arctic Inuit. The language here is still relatively strong. Do Inuit still use Inuktitut over there?

  6. According to the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre, less than 500 people are fluent speakers of Inuvialuktun. Most are elders.

    So, on some level, not many people still speak it.

    However! There are programs in every Inuvialuit community like radio shows, community circles, and activities in schools where people can learn their language. So while it might not be spoken very commonly outside communities like Sachs Harbour or Paualtuk, the preservation of language is on many people’s minds.

    In Inuvik, any parent can choose English, French of Inuvialuktun for their childrens kindergarten class.

    Here are two articles I’ve written for News/North about the topic, now in the free archives.

    http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/2007-07/jul2_07k.html

    http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/2007-05/may14_07ret.html

  7. http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/2007-09/sep17_07nm.html

    Another article about a local class, and the topic of names. Check this out too!

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