This page has probably generated more comments than any
other page on this site. It seems to be a controversial topic indeed! People do love to
make and leave their mark in the wilderness. And there is something about
inukshuks that seems to resonate with people.
Let me summarize thus: In my opinion these modern-day inukshuks
are eyesores in wild areas. If you love them, then please regard the views
expressed on this
page as perhaps a different point of view; as a
suggestion to help keep natural areas more natural. This is, after all, a
website all about reducing and healing the enormous impact humans have on the
On the other hand, inukshuks were originally constructed by the Inuit people (of
the far north) as guideposts on an otherwise unmarked landscape, and perhaps
have spiritual overtones. This page is most definitely not a criticism of those. Although one
could say that it is good that people are "honoring" this tradition by
constructing them now, in my opinion this is incorrect. That's not at all
the intent of most people who build these today. Nor is it a necessary act under
most circumstances. Are modern-day inukshuks built for spiritual reasons?
I highly doubt it! And in any case, just because something is labeled as
"spiritual" does that make it "ok"? What if such action impinges upon someone
else's spirituality, such as, for example, a wilderness-based spirituality? That
whole topic is a minefield, so we'll leave it now!
Yes, a few inukshuks are built nowadays with the intent to
mark trails across barren rocky areas, where no other markings exist. And yes,
some people build modern day inukshuks with great reverence. But I maintain that
most inukshuks are nowadays built with no such intents. People generally do not erect inukshuks
nowadays with the traditional intent of creating essential guidance in an
otherwise undifferentiated landscape. Nor are they usually constructed with any
sort of feeling for or resonance with the land. They are simply built as a time
filler, much like watching TV.
And to summarize another viewpoint ... There is indeed much
greater vandalism of the natural world going on all the time with our resource
extraction, highways, cities, pollution, human misery, political opportunism,
and so on and so on! Yes, all that is true... I am simply focusing on one small
aspect of the enormous human impact upon this Earth here on this page.
Therefore I am led to my viewpoint that most modern-day
inukshuks are no better than
spray-painted graffiti (except that they're easier to get rid of). It's a loud
declaration that says, "I was here!!". Please leave those
attitudes at home when you venture out into the natural world -- help leave the
natural world natural. Signs of human intrusion into the wilderness are already
rampant everywhere. On the brighter side, it is now (at the start of
2006) no longer anywhere near as popular to build these as it once was.
If you disagree with my viewpoint, I welcome hearing your
viewpoint as well. Many visitors to this site have emailed me or made a
guestbook entry with their views on this subject. These range from well thought
out remarks to flames at me for expressing my opinion herein. They range from
reasoned explanations of the spiritual significance of inukshuks to the obvious
rock graffiti makers who insist upon their "right" to make as many rock piles as
they feel like, wherever they want to, "so there"!
If nothing else, perhaps this page has given something for you
to think about.