Is The InSpirit Centre Logo Cultural Appropriation??
Lately we've been getting some inquiries about our logo. This makes sense because right now, racism and human rights at are the fore-front of a lot of people's minds. Everyone wants to know who is and who isn't misrepresenting themselves. And with social distancing stretching for months at a time, keyboard warriors have lots of time to attack first and and ask questions later...or never; they're very busy ya know. So what better time than now to share the depth of hidden symbolism and meaning behind our logo? Ok, so sit down with a cuppa, here goes....
The "Sun" represents life. It keeps us warm, and lights our days. Because of the Sun, plants grow and feed all of Mother Earth's creatures. Without it humans and everything on this planet would cease to exist.
Hidden in the sun symbol is a “compass”. Look closely at the rays and you will see the ones pointing to North, South, East and West stretch farther. By knowing where we have been, and by knowing where we are now, helps us to figure out what direction we are going. This gives us the power to change the course of our lives whenever we find ourselves wandering away from our own paths and purposes in life. Inside the sun is a “circle”. This is a reminder that we are all equal, no matter our race, gender, or spiritual beliefs. The circle is open on one side, as an invitation to all of those who would like to explore their spirituality to join us in our InSpirit Centre Circle. You are all welcome. The symbol in our logo commonly referred to as an “Inukshuk”, is actually not an Inukshuk at all. Inukshuk (singular) or Inukshuit (plural) are important markers for the Inuit and other northern Indigenous communities of Canada, Alaska and Greenland as they identify important hunting and fishing spots, as well as assist in travel direction. The landscape easily changes with wind, snow and ice, so these markers are essential for survival. (Click here if you would like to learn more about real Inukshuit, from an actual Inuit Inukshuk builder) However what's on our logo, is actually an “Inunnguag” (singular) otherwise known as “Inunnguat” (plural). A key difference is that Inukshuit do not take on the shape of a human, whereas the Inunnguat do. The name translates to "pretend person" or "form of a person". Another key difference is that the Inunnguat have only been around the last 100 years or so, and are created by people of all walks of life, all over Canada. It basically says to the world "hey I was here!" These are not Indigenous symbols and so its OK for anyone to make one or buy one. Its not appropriation.
(Fun Fact: The most famous Inunnguag is named “Ilanaaq” and is a multi-coloured 5 piece design created by Elana Rivera MacGregor for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics) When we see an Inunnguag, it lets us know someone has been here before. It is a symbol of welcoming. In the world of spirituality, this is brings a comfort and reassurance when we are going through hard times to know that others have experienced the exact same thing and survived. Similar to the compass, on a spiritual level, the Inunnguag symbol can help you find your way back to yourself, even when the landscape of your life has changed and nothing seems familiar.
Inunnguat are recognized all over the world as a Canadian Symbol representing our collective warmth, welcoming attitudes, and kindness to others. These are traits that Barbara, Mark and the InSpirit Centre Team highly value. Putting these symbols together reminds us of our mission and vision to provide quality ethical therapies and services so that everyone who wants to explore their inner worlds is welcome at InSpirit Centre, and we will always strive to provide a safe and respectful environment. So as you can see, that while our logo is steeped in symbolism, its not appropriation. Phew right?...now you don't have to worry and can keep shopping with us and enjoying our services. We'll greet you with a smile...you won't see it because we'll be wearing masks, but your heart will know its there.