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An inukshuk (Inuktitut: inuksuk / ᐃᓄᒃᓱᒃ, plural inuksuit / ᐃᓄᒃᓱᐃᑦ) is a stone landmark used as a milestone or directional marker by the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic. Inuksuit differ from some cairns in significance. The Arctic Circle, dominated by permafrost, has few natural landmarks and thus the inukshuk was central to navigation across the barren tundra.

Inuksuit vary in shape and size, and perform a diverse array of tasks. The word inuksuk means something which acts for or performs the function of a human. It is a symbol with deep roots in the Inuit culture, a directional marker that signifies safety, hope and friendship.

An inukshuk is shown on the flag and Coat of Arms of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, and the flag of Nunatsiavut. An inukshuk is also shown on the cover of the Rush album Test for Echo.

A structure similar to an inukshuk but meant to represent a human figure, called an inunguak ("imitation of a person"), has become widely familiar to non-Inuit. However, it is not the most common type of inukshuk and is distinguished from inuksuit in general. An inunguak forms the basis of the logo of the 2010 Winter Olympics; its use in this context has been controversial, both among Inuit and among the First Nations of British Columbia.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Inuksuk" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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