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Ookpik: The Ogling Owl at 50

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Author: Susan Rowley
Fifty years ago the Canadian Government selected Ookpik to represent the country at the 1964 trade fair in Philadelphia. An overnight sensation, the Canadian Government moved quickly to trademark Ookpik for the Fort Chimo Eskimo Co-operative. The Ookpik Advisory Committee oversaw the trademark making decisions regarding books, comics, songs, clothing balloons, and mass-produced dolls. By 1968 the market was saturated and despite the introduction of Sikusi, Ookpik's friend and Mrs Ookpik, revenues fell dramatically. While unsustainable in the long-run, the intentional commodification and heavy marketing of Ookpik, represents an early attempt to create an income stream for and with Inuit. Susan Rowley is the Curator of Public Archaeology at the University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology and Associate Professor of Anthropology at UBC. She is also a member of the IPinCH research team.
This talk was presented at the IPinCH Cultural Commodification, Indigenous Peoples & Self-Determination Public Symposium held on May 2, 2013 at the University of British Columbia.
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