Unique Inuksuit are unveiled by the Montreal Children's Hospital


Celebrating National Aboriginal Day and the Hospital's 100th anniversary

The Montreal Children's Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre is now home to a pair of very unique Inuksuit, Inuit statues made of stone. The Inuksuit, representing a parent and child, were unveiled on National Aboriginal Day, June 21, to commemorate the hospital's long-standing ties with Quebec's Aboriginal communities and the Children's 100th anniversary.

The Children's has enjoyed a 40-year relationship with Quebec's Aboriginal communities and is the only hospital in Quebec to send pediatric health care professionals north to care for children in some of the province's most remote villages and hamlets. Approximately 18 different health care professionals, including pediatricians, physiotherapists, biomedical engineers and nurses, provide 500 days of service in the north each year treating Inuit, Cree and Mohawk children.

Another 300 Aboriginal children are flown south and are admitted to the Children's for care. These children are seriously ill or afflicted with complex illness and about one-third are admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The Children's also treats an additional 1,000 Aboriginal children on an outpatient basis.

With the establishment of its Child, Youth and Family Health Network, the Children's state-of-the-art telehealth technology allows more and more specialists in disciplines like cardiology, urology, respirology and radiology to provide distance diagnosis via the Internet. In other words, the doctor remains in Montreal, the patient stays up north, and a medical consultation, treatment or diagnosis is done via computer.

Inuksuit are among the most important objects created by the Inuit, who were the first people to inhabit portions of Alaska, Arctic Canada and Greenland. The term Inuksuk (the singular of Inuksuit) means "to act in the capacity of a human." It is an extension of Inuk, meaning "a human being." Among many practical functions, Inuksuit are employed as hunting and navigation aids, coordination points, indicators and message centres. In addition to their earthly functions, certain Inuksuk-like figures had spiritual connotations and were objects of veneration.

Contact Information

Lisa Dutton
The Montreal Children's Hospital
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