Like many suburban gardeners, I’ve always been fascinated by inuksuks, the traditional Inuit statues, stones jutting out at the sides vaguely representing a human form.
Last night, we mentioned that we would be moving up to Whapmagoostui and the neighbouring Inuit community of Kuujjuarapik. After discussing how cold it is up there, someone at the table mentioned that we’d be seeing inuksuks. I’ve always been curious what they signified.
From what we gathered from last night’s conversation, there are two kinds. The traditional ones, with flailing arms are actually human representations used to herd caribou for hunters. The caribou mistake the stone towers for humans and follow the path designed for them.
Other stone piles are markers. Bending down and looking through an opening, the next structure can be seen. This is clearly a direction marker.
When I have a garden again one day, I will build an Inuksuk, but this time I will understand its significance.