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A sealskin Ookpik from the mid-1960s

An Ookpik ([ukˈpik]) is a popular Inuit handicraft toy. It is a small, souvenir owl with large head and big eyes, a beak, and small black talons. They are often made from wolf fur, sealskin and other traditional materials.[1]

Ukpik (ᐅᒃᐱᒃ)[2] is the Inuktitut word for snowy owl.


The original Ookpik was created in the early 1960s and made from sealskin. The figure was recreated by Jeannie Snowball of Fort Chimo, now Kuujjuaq, for a trade fair in Philadelphia in 1964.[3] [4][5] The Ookpik figures were created at the Ft Chimo Eskimo Co-operative in Quebec in 1963. The Ookpik is a symbol by which Canadian handicrafts are identified internationally.[1]

Many Canadians and Americans remember owning an Ookpik, and remember it as a popular symbol of Canada.[4][5]


The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology's (NAIT) mascot is the Ook, a shortened version of Ookpik. NAIT was presented this mascot in 1964 by the Federal Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources (now Indian and Northern Affairs Canada). Most of NAIT's sports teams are called the Ooks.[6]

Okpik is both the name and the mascot for certain regional cold-weather camping programs run by the Boy Scouts of America. The original Okpik training was developed at the Northern Tier High Adventure Bases in Ely, Minnesota in the 1970s, and several other BSA high adventure bases have since adopted similar curricula.


The Ookpik Waltz was published in 1965 by the late, Mission, British Columbia, fiddler Frankie Rodgers.[7]


Several books, mainly children's, have been written about this popular owl, including:


External links[edit]