Nunavut Aesthetics
June 18, 2020 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Nagaq, from Nunavut, rates the logos of all 24 Nunavut Communities. (Single Link Twitter) A good indication of the shifts in Indigenous representation, some great information on Nunavut, and some solid local flavour.
posted by PinkMoose (18 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
This is absolutely terrific. I won't try to steal attention away from Nunavut, though as someone from the Northwest Territories that is my instinctual response.

I will say that in Yellowknife, the walking path that reaches the Legislative Assembly has the flagpoles and flags of all the NWT communities. I always loved the story that was told by the flags of three neighbouring communities in the Beaufort Delta region.

Tuktokayktuk : Beautiful, traditional, serene. Just like the community.
Inuvik: Well-intentioned, neat ideas, but boring and overly planned. Just like the community.
Aklavik: SCREW YOU YOU CAN'T DROWN A RIVER RAT. Just like the community.
posted by ZaphodB at 8:46 PM on June 18, 2020 [10 favorites]

*Googles town logo*

*Stews with envy*
posted by q*ben at 8:55 PM on June 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

This is delightful. The triple belugas!

I love the design of the wonderful coat of arms of Nunavut. Iqaluit also has lots of interesting architecture, including St. Jude's Cathedral.
posted by oulipian at 8:59 PM on June 18, 2020 [2 favorites]


Glad to see Hall Beach. I have a piece of Inuit sculpture from there. When I bought it, the dealer said that art from Hall Beach tended to be very rustic, because in Nunavut terms, Hall Beach is “remote”.


OK, then.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:01 PM on June 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

I love the design of the wonderful coat of arms of Nunavut.

I do too, but the Wikipedia article is particularly delightful to me, with the coat of arms description combining the medieval vocabulary of heraldry with the Inuktitut names for things, like:

on a circular shield Or dexter a qulliq sable inflamed gules sinister an inuksuk azure on a chief also azure above five bezants in arc reversed issuant from the lower chief a mullet (Niqirtsuituq) Or
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:27 PM on June 18, 2020 [8 favorites]

Super cool!
posted by tinydancer at 10:24 PM on June 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Threadreader version.
posted by nat at 12:31 AM on June 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

I just finished Never in Anger (a classic anthropological study of the Utkuhiksalingmiut which really reads like superb non-fiction) yesterday, so it was super cool to see this and recognise a bunch of place names. I wonder what Raigili and Saarak and Qayaq and all the other younger informants are doing almost 60 years on.
posted by Panthalassa at 12:43 AM on June 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

For one of the logos, for Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Nagak says below it

Syllabics aren’t used very much here, that’s why they are not on the logo.

I wonder what the politics/history are as to why? Most of the other logos have both Latin script and syllabics, a few have none, and at least one had just syllabics.
posted by nat at 1:12 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Inuit languages are a hugely complicated and political subject, and I know enough to realize that I know nothing at all. But the easy answer is that the language spoken in Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay is not spoken elsewhere in Nunavut, and that language - Inuinnaqtun - uses Latin characters for its writing system while the remainder of Inuit languages and dialects in Nunavut use syllabics. The reason for that distinction, between syllabics and Latin characters, basically boils down to whatever was seen as the better choice by white folks when they arrived in the area in question.

The other thing going on is that this difference in writing systems kinda becomes a focal point for an existing cultural and political divide. The Arctic is a very big place, and the term "Inuit" describes some pretty diverse people. Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay are in the far west of Nunavut, and are closer in virtually every sense of the word to Inuit communities in the Northwest Territories than they are to Inuit communities in eastern Nunavut. Indeed, in the plebiscite that led to the creation of Nunavut, Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay actually voted against division; they were the only communities in what is now Nunavut to vote that way, and it's not a coincidence that they are also the only two Inuinnaqtun communities. Rejecting syllabics, and emphasizing the use of Latin characters, is a way of also emphasizing some fairly strongly-felt cultural differences. (And expressing a sense of bitterness over the whole Nunavut thing.) I have no idea who Nagaq is, but based on how they phrased their comment I'm pretty dang confident in saying they're eastern Arctic.
posted by ZaphodB at 4:40 AM on June 19, 2020 [11 favorites]

I thought there were 25 communities in Nunavut. Am I miscounting them or does one of them not have a logo?
posted by jacquilynne at 6:28 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

This was really fun to read, thanks. What is the name for the human-shaped figure made from stones?
posted by rebent at 6:33 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

The human-shaped figure made of stone is called an Inuksuk (Inukshuk)!
posted by devonia at 6:40 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

On writing systems for Inuit languages: National Inuit org approves new unified writing system. This agreement is a common orthography for using Roman letters to represent several different spoken Inuit languages. However, "It is important to note that Inuktut Qaliujaaqpait does not replace syllabics—regions can and will continue use of syllabics and other distinct writing systems."

Part of the challenge here is there's only some 47,000 Inuit speakers in Canada. From what I've read the intent of the unified orthography is to concentrate all the Inuit language preservation efforts into one common writing system in hopes that helps it survive. OTOH the syllabic writing system is graphically really striking (as these logos demonstrate), I'd hate to see that get lost.

Canadian syllabics date back to the mid 19th century. First adopted by the Cree, then spreading all over.
posted by Nelson at 7:47 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

@jacquilynne You're right, there's 25, 26 if you count Apex separately from Iqaluit.

Maybe Nukaq forgot to count Iqaluit?

@Capt. Renault, I don't know that Sanirajak (Hall Beach) is particularly remote in Nunavut terms. It's pretty close to Igloolik and people travel between the two communities often.

@ZaphodB Speaking of which communities were included in Nunavut, I always find it interesting that Sanikiluaq is part of Nunavut rather than Nunavik, given its location.
posted by wj.wahiga at 9:23 AM on June 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

The reason Sanikiluaq is part of Nunavut and not Nunavik is from a very longstanding and absolutely resolute position of the federal government.

Most of Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec (including Nunavik) were originally part of the then-hyphenated North-West Territories. The provinces were allocated more and more of their modern areas in a couple of stages, ending in 1912, when the provinces pretty much reached their modern borders.

But when it was expanding provincial boundaries, the federal government stuck to one position: every single island that is north of the Canadian mainland remains part of a territory, and thus federal. Every damn one. That gigantic Northern Quebec coastline? Pick any island you want that's offshore - it's federal. The Quebec borders end at the shoreline, end of discussion. It's the same with the islands off the Ontario coast on Hudson Bay - check out Fafard Island, as an example. Every few years there's another fight about it and every few years it never goes anywhere. The federal government absolutely does not ever want to hand over a northern island to a province, ever. The reason for that stance is a much longer thing, but the stance itself is why Sanikiluaq is part of Nunavut.
posted by ZaphodB at 10:22 PM on June 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Is that a gnu in the Grise Fiord one with the Comic Sans?

Are Nunavut?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 4:20 AM on June 20, 2020

It's a muskox!
posted by oulipian at 7:43 AM on June 20, 2020

« Older After racist park encounter, Chris Cooper takes us...   |   Les Archives Algeriennes Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments