Sunday, March 16, 2008

Celebration of the Seal


These are photos from a community event celebrating the importance of seal to the Inuit community. I thought I would try to eat seal but when my opportunity arose, I declined. A man would cut the animal with an axe or hatchet into small pieces, women arrived with their ulu to further cut their portion to edible size. In the pic below you can see the activity.

Above is a traditional qulliq
(kud lik) which holds seal fat (pounded to liquid) and wicked with a grass to provide light and some heat.

Here a woman agreed to have her picture taken as she cleans the fat and flesh off the skin with her ulu (curved blade). She was very quick and did not tear the hide. I was very impressed!

Also the show included free caribou stew, bannock and beverages to purchase. Most stunning were the sealskin fashions, beautifully rendered, creative and original.

The main reason I attended was to hear the throat singers. Until now I confess I didn't get what the fuss was about. The duo performed several pieces loosely titled; The return of the River, The sound of the Saw, and The Wind. Upon hearing each piece I was transported to the thawing river, the increasing rhythm of the water, the low repetitive sound of the saw or the haunting sound of the arctic wind. The music is without instruments or lyrics but none are needed.



2 comments:

Life in YK Delta said...

Wow! Amazing! That is so us..the native way..I haven't seen anyone doing seal for longest time..I haven't done seal since I was in my teens. Sure do miss it..Lucy from Alaska

Shelley said...

Hi Lucy my neighbour tells me how warming seal is when he's out on the land. Hopefully at Toonik Tyme I can try some!