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Arctic Narwhal Tusk donated to Goodwill finds permanent educational home at the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary


Calgary, AB (October 20, 2020) - Since 1963, Goodwill Industries of Alberta has been thankful to many supporters, from shoppers to donors, to volunteers. Throughout the years, our organization has received many unique donations to support our mission of helping those with disabilities through the power of work.

Last month, was no exception, as a generous donor donated something so unique and rare, we knew that it had have a home where it would be well represented within the community. It was an ivory tusk from a Narwhal whale in Canada’s Arctic regions.


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Photograph Courtesy of Hesam Rezaei


The tusk came with hunting tag that dates back to 1978 and is about 24 inches in length.  For centuries in Inuit communities, narwhals have provided food for those in the Arctic and have supplied materials for day-to-day living. The narwhal hunt is significant as it provides both food and income, particularly in isolated Arctic communities, where employment opportunities are very scarce for families involved in hunting.  Items like these are a fundamental part of Indigenous Culture and History and must be preserved.

As a social enterprise, we are thankful of the donation to help the betterment of our community in Alberta, and are looking to honour the tusk’s cultural significance. After speaking with multiple local organizations, Goodwill is pleased to announce that the tusk will be given to the Arctic Institute of North America, located at the University of Calgary, who is committed to preserving the tusk’s historical and cultural integrity.

“This is a way to create an educational opportunity in our community based on historical, environmental, and cultural significance. We are proud to work with the Arctic Institute of North America to feature higher learnings of what the Narwhal means to those living in the Arctic.” says Goodwill Industries of Alberta CEO Dale Monaghan.


Shannon Black

Photograph Courtesy of Jim Wells, Postmedia


The artifact will create a better learning opportunity about this history of our great white North.

Narwhals are a Canadian treasure! They are a highly intelligent small whale species which only exists in the Arctic, and considerably more than half the existing number of animals (estimated at ~120,000 adult animals by the IUCN Redlist) are found in Canadian waters.” Says Dr. Sandie Black, Associate Clinical Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Head Veterinary at the Calgary Zoo. “In Canada, our collective actions in managing Arctic development sustainably, and in safeguarding the marine Arctic will determine their future.”

A hand-off of the Narwhal tusk will take place in a closed celebration, as both organizations continue to practice safe measures during COVID-19.

For additional media coverage please see:

CBC News

CTV News

Global News

Calgary Herald

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