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In the Arctic, an inuksuk is a stone construction that can act in the place of a human being. These structures, sometimes in human shape, have been built in the tundra to serve as directional signs; markers for sites of important events, food caches, or rest stops; memorials to beloved individuals; aids in hunting; and even as surrogate caribou herders. For the modern Canadian Inuit, they also serve as striking connections to the past. The introduction reminds readers that most people employ tools where human help is not available: scarecrows, traffic lights, statues, and signs serve as our modern equivalents. The author explores the meanings and uses of inuksuit and describes the people who built them and the Arctic environment. By providing both a historical and modern context for these structures, she helps readers view them as more than just artifacts. The numerous full-color and black-and-white photographs present a good mixture of current and historical images of inuksuit and the Inuit people. Wallaces landscape paintings are interspersed throughout the text. The artists vivid hues dispel the stereotype of a monochromatic north. Instructions for constructing an inuksuk and a glossary of Inuktitut words are appended. This well-designed book makes a much better introduction to Arctic life than the usual peoples-of-the-polar-regions overviews.Sue Sherif, Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library, AK
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.