________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 6 . . . .November 12, 2004


Make Your Own Inuksuk. (A WOW Canada! Book).

Mary Wallace.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2004.
32 pp., paper, $9.95.
ISBN 1-897066-14-7.

Subject Headings:
Inuksuit-Juvenile literature.
Inuit-Canada-Material culture-Juvenile literature.
Inuit-Canada-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Luella Sumner.

**** /4




Allan Angmarlik died in an airplane crash near Kimmiut, Nunavut, in July of 2000. Previously while working for the Inuit Heritage Trust, he interviewed several Inuit elders to help us gather information about the inuksuk. As well, on our behalf Mr. Angmarlik asked the elders who were delegates at the 1998 Nunavut Social Development Council meeting what they thought about our book on building inuksuit. The Inuit elders responded by indicating that they had no opposition to our project, and that they supported it in principle. They did want to point out that the Inuksuit built should be made for recreational purposes. The quotes of these Inuit elders were collected and translated by Allan Angmarlik. We respectfully dedicate this book to Allan.

In the past, inuksuit were used for caribou hunting. Small inuksuit, at regular intervals, were used to make a trail. These trails also marked the areas that were rich in caribou. There are also some inuksuit that are located around lakes, marking the best spot to chisel some holes for fishing purposes. These inuksuit would be pointing towards the lake. The smaller stone was closer to the lake, the distance between the inuksuit also corresponded to the distance between the shoreline and where a hole in the lake should be made.

-Quoted from Abraham Ulaajuruluk, Inuit elder, born 1936, Ittukkuvik


Wallace has filled this book with background information that is interesting and essential to the understanding of the tradition of inuksuk building by the Inuit. An inuksuk is built as a symbol or respect for a person or nature, as a signpost or message centre. Inuksuit are considered sacred by the Inuit and must never be destroyed or damaged. There is a short glossary of terms, quotes from Inuit elders, many pictures of old and new inuksuit (plural term), and step by step directions, fully illustrated, on how to build various forms of inuksuit. There are descriptions of different types of rocks and other building materials, and thoughtful discussion concerning one's purpose in building an inuksuk, and locating it in a suitable spot.

     This is a great companion book to Mary Wallace's previous title, The Inuksuk Book, which won the 2000 UNESCO International Youth Library White Raven Award and the 1999 National Outdoor Book Award.

Highly Recommended.

A retired librarian, Luella Sumner lives in Red Rock, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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