In the north or the Arctic to most, inukshuks are a prevalent feature of the landscape. An inukshuk is a symbol that ultimately means, “we were here.” Inukshuks help hunters keep track of where they have been. They are a sign post of sorts. In the Arctic there are no trees as you are above the tree line. The landscape can been hypnotizing when covered in snow and you can even get snow-blindness and lose perspective quite quickly. So, seeing your own inukshuk can be very helpful if you are lost.
Inukshuks can also indicate a family's “cache.” A hunter and their family place an inukshuk overtop of their food storage area that they’ve created in the earth; essentially this is a hole in the ground and the meat has been buried.
Although, inukshuks are a great physical symbol, I feel that there is also a spiritual element to them. It is as though the rocks used to build them contain the emotional energy of the person or people that have built them.
Inukshuks are majestic standing against the horizon with the northern lights dancing behind them. The northern star placed perfectly above creating a shadowy figure on the tundra.
I love inukshuks and all they stand for and this is why I decided to teach how to make one (out of clay) to 25 grade two students. A special shout out to Crayola.com for providing the original instructions.
- You need to decide what your inukshuk will look like. For example do you want your inukshuk to have 8 pieces? 6? Or more?
- I chose 8 pieces. I wanted 6 roundish looking rocks and 2 flat plank style rocks.
- What message do you want your inukshuk to have? Are you going to be showing that you were here; that your families food supply is here? Or maybe you have a simple message of acceptance or love.
- Then what type of clay will you be using? I chose Crayola Model Magic. It is super easy to mold and dries overnight. It is very lightweight.
- Use wax paper to put your pieces on to dry.
- Then mold all your pieces. Remember no two rocks look alike in nature, so you can be creative in terms of size and shape.
- Leave to dry overnight.
- Once all your pieces have dried, you can assemble your inukshuk. You are basically layering your “rocks” and placing them on top of one another until you have built your inukshuk.
- Use white glue to affix your pieces together.
- Leave overnight to dry and in the morning you will have your very own inukshuk.
I hope you have as much fun creating your inukshuk as we did creating ours. Our inukshuk symbolizes family.
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