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Inuit Art Foundation Announces Igloo Tag Trademark Transfer in Iqaluit

Jul 07, 2017

The Inuit Art Foundation (IAF) is honoured to announce the transfer of the iconic Igloo Tag Trademark from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to the IAF. With its national mandate, the IAF is uniquely positioned to administer the trademark to further protect, promote and support Inuit art in Canada and internationally.

“On behalf of the Inuit Art Foundation, I am pleased that we are taking on the Igloo Tag as part of our programming that supports Inuit artists across the country. I am excited to build on its long legacy and see how it can continue to grow and support artists into the future,” said IAF President Mathew Nuqingaq.

The internationally recognized trademark was created by INAC in 1958 and helps protect Inuit visual art from counterfeits. The trademark has been remarkably successful: the Government of Canada’s recently announced Impact of the Inuit Arts Economy report estimates the trademark contributes about $3.5 million annually to the Inuit arts economy, with consumers averaging an additional value of $117.23 for works with the mark.

Updated Igloo Tag trademark

The transfer took place in an effort to increase the Inuit community’s ability to manage art making to both benefit Inuit artists and help preserve the value of Inuit cultural heritage. According to The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, “Over the past 18 months, we have heard clearly about the need for Inuit to protect their distinct cultural identity and improve socio-economic conditions of their people. Today’s announcement highlights the Government of Canada is committed to work in partnership with Inuit on subjects that matter to them. The Igloo Tag supports Inuit artists and culture and I am pleased that it will now be managed by an Inuit-led organization.” Natan Obed, National Inuit Leader and President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said, “ITK fully supports the Inuit Art Foundation taking administrative control of the Igloo Tag from the Government of Canada. ITK believes the IAF will engage with Inuit organizations, communities and artists to ensure this important program enhances and protects Inuit artists.”

As part of its management of the trademark, the Inuit Art Foundation is undertaking comprehensive stakeholder engagement to determine how the use of the trademark can be expanded to support Inuit artists across the country, to be led by the IAF’s Igloo Tag Program Coordinator, Bryan Winters. Winters, originally from Nunatsiavut, brings a new perspective to the trademark, and said, “It has been the goal of every in Inuk in Canada to determine for ourselves who we are and how we are represented. It is hard to think of a better representation of a culture than its art, and we must represent ourselves as best we can.”

Learn more about the IAF's plans for the Igloo Tag here.

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