February 12, 2010

Inukshuk or totem pole?

Vancouver 2010:  Olympic Logo No "Friend" to SomeVancouver 2010 Emblem

Photograph by Jeff Vinnick, Reuters

The Vancouver 2010 emblem is dubbed Ilanaaq—"friend" in an Inuit language—and is an "eternal expression of the hospitality of a nation that warmly welcomes the people of the world with open arms every day," according to the Vancouver 2010 Web site.

But Ilanaaq has generated controversy among some First Nations—Canada's term for non-Inuit American Indian groups. The groups feel the symbol doesn't reflect the native art and culture of the Vancouver region and the rest of British Columbia, such as totem poles.
[S]ome First Nations indigenous leaders have said the symbol lacks influence from native cultures of the Vancouver region, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"The First Nations community at large is disappointed with the selection," Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, told the CBC in 2005. "The decision-makers have decided not to reflect the First Nations and the Pacific region in the design of the logo.

"I can't help but notice the remarkable resemblance it has to Pac-Man," Phillip added.

More Fitting Vancouver 2010 Emblem?

Photograph by Pete Ryan, National Geographic Stock

A traditional totem pole created by Haisla people stands tall in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia. Some Vancouver-area indigenous leaders have suggested a totem pole might have made a better Vancouver 2010 emblem, since the art form is native to British Columbia.

Comment:  I can see both sides of this question. The argument against the inukshuk, above, is valid. The argument for the inukshuk is that it represents the broad northern sweep of Canada. And particularly the Arctic region, which is appropriate for the Winter Olympics. A totem pole doesn't quite say "cold" the way an inukshuk does.

For more on the subject, see Inukshuk Symbolizes 2010 Olympics.

No comments: