Vancouver Olympic Logo; Authentic Inuit Inukshuk (Arcticvoice.org)
The ubiquitous symbol of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada comes from an ancient cultural icon and practical tool of the Inuit people – the inukshuk. An inukshuk is a stack of stones traditionally used by the Inuit of the arctic to mark anything from a hunting spot to a food cache. In 2005, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Olympics chose a multicolored humanoid version of an inukshuk as the games' official 2010 emblem.
That set off a flurry of commercialization that has seen the inukshuk placed on an incredible variety of products and displays, including;
Key chains, bottle openers, T-shirts, snow globes, playing cards, and rain gear for dogs
The Inukie Cookie, which lets you build your own inukshuk out of maple-flavored shortbread
The Vancouver Aquarium’s 10-foot-high inukshuk made out of 4,368 cans of sustainably fished salmon and tuna
Canadian Tire Corp.’s $38.00 inukshuk garden statue
Richmond, BC’s six-story inukshuk built from several empty cargo containers
Chocolatier Daniel’s 320-pound inukshuk made of solid Belgian chocolate
No official program exists to provide a share of inukshuk product revenue to First Nations. However, some 1,000 Inuit carvers in the arctic territory of Nunavut have been hired to make authentic inukshuit for sale at the Olympics, says Dennis Kim, head of merchandising for the Vancouver Organizing Committee. A 15½-inch statue costs around $1,880.