I would say that it is very likely I would have no idea what an inukshuk was if it wasn’t for this commercial. Maybe they told us in school one time, but I sure don’t remember it. This commercial on the other hand can not be forgotten. I’m pretty sure this commercial was designed by Canadologists to maximize its ability to bore into the minds of the public. And for this, I love this Heritage Moment.
What we’ve got here is a wounded RCMP officer and some Inuit people, right. They’re taking a break or something and the Inuit, as they are wont to do, start building an inukshuk. RCMP Johnny says to himself “I’ve always wondered what those things were about” and he goes to check it out. The woman doesn’t even need to be asked, though. She knows that people all the time be thinking about inukshuks, so as soon as he gets there she has another guy (her son maybe) translate the purpose of the thing: “Now the People will know we were here.”
And is our only great quotable line from this one. But it’s a great one. They even have to bring it back mere seconds later to close out the piece. It probably wasn’t written that way. I’m pretty sure it just had to happen that way because the line was so quotable. So while it only gives us one line, it’s so well done, I give big points for it. Of the Heritage Moments I’ve reviewed so far, only the Superman can honestly trump this one, because it has both quality and quantity.
But meanwhile, we’ve got the hidden non-educational bit of the story. What is the deal here? How did this RCMPoliceman get hurt? Just a simple slip and fall on an icy rock? Was he attacked by Americans trying to get to the Yukon? Did he sprain his ankle giving a roundhouse kick to the a wendigo? We don’t know. It raises questions and I, for one, would enjoy seeing the tale of these people (a family, probably) helping this guy get wherever they’re going. A television show really ought to have sprung from this.
For doing its job super well and giving us tantalizing hints at a story at the same time, this one gets Five out of Six Pieces of PDR’s Reviewing System Cake.
When I was in New York last year, I saw an inukshuk on display at the United Nations building. I’m no nationalist, but that moment made me feel connected to Canada even more than finding a Tim Hortons in a pizza hut did.