December 3, 1998
Nunavut's flag, coat of arms, to remain secret for now
Nunavut's heraldic symbols will be unveiled on April 1, 1999.
IQALUIT Nunavut's flag and coat of arms have been formally approved, but those designs will remain a secret until April 1, 1999.
"Because this is like an unborn child, we can't reveal the design or colours until April 1 because we'll be undermining the governor general's key role," Meeka Kilabuk said.
Kilabuk sits on the Nunavut Implementation Commission's symbols committee, which received about 800 design submissions for a Nunavut coat of arms and flag from across Canada. Those suggestions were culled to 10 and the committee created a compilation design using those ideas.
"There was cutting and colouring of all the commissioners to make that decision," Kilabuk said. "We really tried to look at what colours would work together."
Under international heraldic guidelines, no two provinces or territories are allowed to use the same colour scheme in official symbol designs.
An Inuk artist worked with an official government artist to incorporate those ideas into formal flag and coat of arms designs. Kilabuk explained there was a melding of traditional heraldic design with Inuit ideas of animal representation.
"The commission decided we didn't want our animals drawn in heraldic design because of our respect to animals," she said. "We wanted our animals to look natural in their natural colours."
The NIC announced Nov. 23 that Queen Elizabeth II has approved the designs that had been submitted to her by Governor General Romeo Leblanc, the head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
The motto on the coat of arms, traditionally written in Latin, will be written in Inuktitut syllabics. And there are other divergences from tradition, Kilabuk said.
The Vice Regal Warrant, granting the symbols, will be written in four columns instead of two, adding Inuktitut in syllabics and Innuinaqtun in Roman orthography between the English and French declarations.
Though the designs won't be officially unveiled until next April, some people will get to see the design before then notably, the printers who will reproduce thousands of copies for Nunavut celebrations.
And there's already been requests to release the designs to printers from other sources, such as Nunavut's health department, which wants to incorporate the coat of arms on its new health cards.
"And we've had similar requests from Northern stores which the commission will discuss at its next meeting," Kilabuk said.