Rankin Inlet, Nunavut Canada April 1999

As the spring sun rose over the eastern skies of the Canadian Arctic this April 1 st 1999 the shape of Canada had changed. The new territory of Nunavut was official. At the stroke of midnight the celebrations started in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. The appointment of the government was made and the members of parliament enjoyed a grand display of midnight fire works and northern lights.

Mean while across the new territory the peoples of the land prepared for their own local celebrations and unveiling of the flags and coat of arms. In the community of Rankin Inlet along the shores of Hudsons Bay the celebrations started with an early morning breakfast and then the official flag raising at the Hamlet offices.

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Braving the minus 25 temperatures and a 30 km/h wind the community members joined together. Many in specially made traditional clothes for this historic event

After speeches and prayers the flag raising party consisting of RCMP, Elders and youth gathered to introduce the never seen before flag of Nunavut.

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During the raising of the new flag cheers of pride were throughout the crowd as the dreams of the people had become real. Individual flags and new maps of Canada showing the three territories and ten provinces were distributed to the crowd..

About the Flag and Coat of Arms

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The colours, blue and gold, symbolize the riches of the land, sea and sky. Red is a reference to Canada. The inuksuk symbolizes stone monuments which guide people on the land and mark sacred and other special places.

The star is the Niqirtsuituq, the North Star and the traditional guide for navigation. The North Star is also symbolic of the leadership of elders in the community

Purpsaxifrage

Nunavut’s Territorial flower is The Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) is a species of plant that is very common all over the high Arctic.

Nunavut’s Territorial Bird is The Ptarmigan, Lagopus muta, is a medium-sized (31-35 cm gamebird in the grouse family It is known as Rock Ptarmigan, or colloquially Snow Chicken

Nunavut’s Territorial animal is The Canadian Eskimo Dog, otherwise known as the Qimmiq (Inuit for "dog") A larger breed of Arctic dog commonly found pulling sleds for their Inuit counterparts.

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The dominant colours of blue and gold symbolize the riches of the land, sea and sky. In the base of the shield, the inuksuk symbolizes the stone monuments which guide the people on the land and mark sacred and other special places. The qulliq, or Inuit stone lamp, represents light and the warm of family and the community.

The concave arc of the five gold circles refers to the life-giving properties of the sun arching above and below the horizon.

The star is the Niqirtsuituq, the North Star, which is the traditional guide for navigation.

In the crest, the iglu represents the traditional life of the people and the means of survival.

The Royal Crown symbolizes public government for all people of Nunavut and establishes Nunavut as a partner in Confederation.

The tuktu (caribou) and qilalugaq tugaalik (narwhal) refer to land and sea animals which are part of the natural heritage of Nunavut.

The base of the crest is composed of land and sea and features three species of Arctic wild flowers.

The motto in Inuktitut – Nunavut Sanginivut – means "Nunavut, our strength."

Nunavut’s Territorial Symbol is the Inuksuk (plural inuksuit) The inukshuk in is a stone landmark used as a milestone or directional marker by the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic. The Arctic Circle, dominated by permafrost, has few natural landmarks and thus the inuksuk was central to navigation across the barren tundra. Inuksuit vary in shape and size, and perform a diverse array of tasks. It is a symbol with deep roots in the Inuit culture, a directional marker that signifies safety, hope and friendship.

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