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Arviat, Nunavut (Canada)


Last modified: 2018-07-06 by rob raeside
Keywords: arviat | nunavut | knives | inuit tools |
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[Arviat flag] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

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The Arviat fact sheet on the Nunavik government's website has been updated and says the following about the town:

Arviat can be found on old maps as Eskimo Point. The name Arviat comes from "arviq", Inuktitut for “bowhead whale.” The community was named for a nearby island that is shaped like a bowhead. The Hudson Bay Company established a trading post at Arviat in the 1920s and a Catholic mission followed shortly thereafter. The area had previously been used by the Pallirmiut Inuit to hunt for seals, walrus and whales.

Ivan Sache, 17 April 2009

In the early days of establishing settlements in what is now Nunavut, the southerners present were usually the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the churches (Anglican and Roman Catholic). These three groups usually flew flags in front of their houses or buildings, so flags were seen as a signal of status by many of the Inuit. Arviat was incorporated as a hamlet in 1978, and by flying its flag the new community showed that it was on par with the other organizations in the area.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.


The flag of the Hamlet of Arviat (formerly Eskimo Point) is a Canadian pale design of dark blue-white-dark blue, with a large device in the centre, nearly the full height of the flag. The device depicts five stylized Inuit tools, in yellow with black outlines and details, surrounding a sixth tool in yellow, white, and black.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


The device is adapted from the hamlet’s ovoid logo, which depicts the same objects in the same colours within a ring of blue. The objects are all traditional Inuit tools:
  •  At the upper right and left are panas, or snow knives, used to build iglus for shelter, to cut through frozen meat, or other purposes such as setting fox traps.
  • At the lower left is a tiluut, traditionally used to collect and clean black moss, utilised as fuel in areas without trees, such as the Keewatin Barrens around Arviat.
  • At the lower right is a tiluktuut, used to remove snow from clothing made of animal skins such as caribou or seal.
  • In the lower centre is an iggaak, snow goggles made of either wood or caribou antler, which protect the eyes in bright conditions.
  • In the centre is an ulu, the traditional knife still used for everything from preparing food to cutting up skins for clothing.
The blue signifies clear skies and yellow represents the bright, rising sun. Both colours are deeply important landscape colours in the Inuit imagination. With the melting of the sea ice, the brief summer of golden sunlight and dark blue waters brings the cold, darkened, snow-whitened Arctic landscape to a short but brilliant, and quickly passing, intensely-vivid life.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011 


The logo originated in the 1960s or 1970s.
All such NWT/Nunavut civic flags were designed in 1985 for the Northwest Territories Exhibition Hall at Vancouver’s Expo ’86, at the initiative of heraldry enthusiast Michael Moore, then a deputy minister at the NWT Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA). The side-bar colours of these Canadian pale designs vary from dark blue, to green, to brown, and to bright red. The ovoid civic logo of Arviat was likely derived from a Canadian Community Newspaper Association logo, awarded in 1983 to News North, the primary newspaper of the Canadian Arctic, and printed on its masthead for many years.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011 


Eric Anooe, Sr. and Donald Uluadluak; adapted in 1985 to fit the central square by Rob Butler, graphic artist at Inkit Graphics in Yellowknife, NWT.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011