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The Stories Behind Cultural Artifacts

Create an historical artifact or a contemporary piece of art representative of one of the communities and tell the story behind the artifact or art.

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Suggested Activities

In this challenge, students explore Inuit, Acadian and/or prairie culture through the work of historic artifacts and/or contemporary art. Introduce the activity by displaying an object or picture of an historical or contemporary work of art. Discuss what students can learn about a culture (the way the people live or lived their daily lives) by studying the object. For example, display an inukshuk and ask students what they can tell from looking at the object. Explain that works or art and cultural objects have stories to tell. Read aloud a story about inukshuks or share the following information:

The Legend of the Inukshuk:
Inukshuks rise from the landscape, always in human form, in a land where you see so few people. Solid guardians, keeping the vigil to direct the lonely traveller along the the best and safest passages, land or water. Today you may still see an Inukshuk (in-uk-shook) created along our highways or on the shores of our lakes and rivers.

Centuries of Tradition:
To build an Inukshuk you must find the perfect balance for each rock. No one rock is more important than another and each creation is unique. Inukshuks found in natural settings are created from rock gathered in the immediate area and reflect the characteristics of the surrounding landforms.

Point out that in the past the Inuit used inukshuks to help when hunting caribou and that they still build them today. Encourage students to look though various books, Internet collections of pieces created by artists to find an artifact or piece of art that best reflects that community's characteristics (geographical, cultural, historical). Help students find out the story behind their chosen object. Once students have chosen an artifact and completed research about its cultural significance, they are to create the artifact or contemporary work of art. Encourage students to try as faithfully as they can to replicate the traditional style and to express characteristics of the culture in their work. Encourage students to share their work by explaining the story behind the work. Display the completed art within the classroom or hallways as a gallery for others to see.

Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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