Goodwill to gift rare donated narwhal tusk to U of C's Arctic Institute of North America
CALGARY -- A unique donation to a Calgary Goodwill store will soon find a new home amidst the artifacts of the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA) at the University of Calgary.
The tusk of a young arctic narwhal was donated in-person to the Beacon Heights Goodwill location in August and staff soon realized the item's value including its cultural significance.
"So right away we set it aside, and we know as a community association it was really, really important for us to find the right home for this narwahl tusk," said Shannon Black with Goodwill Industries of Alberta.
Hunting tags attached to the roughly 60 cm (24 inch) tusk are dated 1978.
Goodwill officials contacted the AINA and arranged to donate the tusk to the organization to become a permanent addition to its collection.
The handover is scheduled to take place at an upcoming private event to ensure COVID-19-related safety measures are observed.
Black says the group has never seen this type of donation before.
“We have had some unique donations in the past … things like war medals that we were able to send back to the rightful family and make sure they went home," she said.
Sandie Black, who serves as the clinical associate professor of the U of C's faculty of veterinary medicine as well as the head of veterinary services at the Calgary Zoo, says the tusk was likely collected by an Inuk who was hunting for food. She believes the tusk belonged to a narwhal between the ages of three and five years old.