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First cakes, now crates for caribou in Jasper

The herd of Woodland Caribou in Jasper National Park has been decreasing in size for over 20 years and is considered a species at risk. In two years it is feared that the herd will have diminished to an unsustainable size, the same time as Jasper National Park will celebrate 100 years as a protected natural area.

To raise awareness on this little known fact, Digital Time Machine Inc., Jasper’s well-known Arts and Ecology Advocacy couple, have created the idea of organizing a 100-image traveling exhibition “Tuktu Prayers” which will migrate across Canada beginning in the fall of 2006, starting in Eastern Canada and arriving in Jasper National Park on September 14, 2007. Tuktu is Inuit for caribou.

“Our hope is that they will not be the only herd of caribou left in the Park in 2007,” said Marianne Garrah of DTMInc.

“In October this year I was fortunate to have attended a breakfast seminar on advocacy where Joanne DiCosimo, the CEO for the Canadian Museum of Nature, spoke. When she was finished I approached her to see if the Museum could assist with this traveling exhibition. She spoke of an Alliance of Natural History Museums that could be interested in this awareness-raising migration.”

Since then Garrah has been in contact with many Canadians, International artists and musicians and has realized that Woodland Caribou in Jasper National Park are not alone.  

Other areas in North America are also a concern for caribou. In Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, efforts are being made to open the land up to oil and gas drilling.

“Multinationals drill in precisely the ribbon of land that has been the calving grounds for the 120,000 member Porcupine Caribou Herd for 27,000 years,” reads a coffee label attached to a pound of Bean Caribou coffee for sale at “Cakes for Caribou.”

Bean North Coffee Roasting Company, is a Yukon based company that produces 100 per cent fair trade, organic coffee. Artists from the area led Garrah to this company and to help contribute. Money from Bean Caribou will support the exhibition (www.beannorth.com).

As images start to roll in, fundraising for all costs are a concern. Traveling exhibitions require the work to be properly crated for travel. If you’re not an artist, but still want to contribute, a unique opportunity to show your support is to sponsor a crate. Your name will be branded on the crate, as the exhibition migrates across Canada. Every $1,000 donation will receive an original soapstone sculpture by Audrey Nanimahoo. Nanimahoo was one of the artists at the Heritage Gala November 12, and has been commissioned by Tuktu Prayers to create these one-of-a-kind sculptures.

“Money raised from various events and products will go towards promotional materials, crating, the cost of opening nights at the museums, and ultimately, we would like to see a coffee table book created of the 100 pieces of artwork,” said Garrah. “The artwork is also for sale as it travels.”

If you are an artist and want to submit a piece of art, DTMInc. is still accepting submissions. For guidelines check out the web site www.tuktuprayers.com under “artist” for guidelines. Anyone wishing to donate money or materials to this project can do so by contacting us at dtminc@shaw.ca

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