Centralized by a circular shield of blue and gold divided by a horizon, the colours themselves represent the riches of Nunavut's land, sea and sky. Above the horizon sits the Niqirtsuituq, or the North Star. In a land of few natural landmarks and bearing markers, the North Star was vitual for navigation. The star also symbolizes the leadership of the elders of the territory. The five gold circles beneath the star represent the sun as it arches above and below the horizon. In a land where the days and nights can be months long, the sun is a renewal of life when it reappears in the Spring.
The Inuksuk, which means 'like a human' in Inuktitut, represents the stone markers used for centuries by the Inuit as navigational landmarks and to mark sacred and special places. The qulliq, an Inuit stone lamp, represents light during the long winter darkness and also symbolizes the warmth and reliance on family and the community.
Coat of Arms
Set atop the armorial bearings is an iglu (or igloo), which represents the traditional life of the Inuit and their ability to survive in such a hostile environment. Above the iglu is the Royal Crown, representing Nunavut's inclusion in Confederation.
The tuktu (or caribou) and the qilalugaq tugaalik (or narwhal) which support the shield represent the reliance of the Inuit on the land and sea for their survival. They are part of the natural heritage of the Inuit. The animals stand on a base of land and Arctic sea. Three varieties of Arctic plantlife are also included.
The Motto of Nunavut (which means 'Our Land'), written in Inuktitut and translates as Nunavut Sanginivut, means 'Nunavut, Our Strength'.