Edmonton

NAIT offers reward for return of missing mascot

NAIT is offering a reward for the return of its iconic mascot, ookpik, which has been missing for about five years.

NAIT is offering a reward for the return of its iconic mascot, ookpik, which has been missing for about five years.

NAIT is offering a reward for the return of ookpik, missing for about five years. (NAIT)

"NAIT is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and the ookpik is a symbol of our rich history," said spokesman Frank Landry. "The missing ookpik was a special gift from the federal government and we would love our iconic mascot be part of NAIT’s celebrations."

The mascot is made from seal skin and is 20-25 centimetres tall.

It was a gift from the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources to the NAIT Students’ Association in 1964.

The ookpik — which means snowy owl in Inuktitut — became a popular symbol of Canada in the 1960s after the federal government adopted a handcrafted ookpik (made at an Inuit cooperative in northern Quebec) as a souvenir at international trade fairs, said Landry.

The CBC program Inquiry broadcast a story March 16, 1964 explaining the use of the ookpik as a national symbol. 

NAIT’s men’s and women’s sports teams are called the Ooks after the ookpik.

NAIT’s furry brown Ook found its home for years in NAIT’s Alumni Relations office. It went missing about five years ago.

NAIT is offering a five-course Chef’s Table for six at the school's Ernest’s dining room as a reward to the person whose tip leads to the ookpik’s return.

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