Date: March 05, 2009
Author: Leonard Okkumaluk
My name is Leonard Okkumaluk, I was born and raised in the Eastern Arctic of Canada. I have lived in Igloolik, Hall Beach, Iqaluit, and in Ottawa, Ontario. In Ottawa I attended high school and for 1 year went to college at Nunavut Sivuniksavut. I am writing about seal hunting and our way of life. My personal experience as a hunter, how we use the seal and how important it is for the people in the north to sell the seal skin pelt. I think it's important to send out message to people so they can see Inuit side of the story about the seal hunt.

I grew up most of my life in a little town of about 1,900 people called Igloolik, Nunavut. I have been hunting seal as long as I can remember. I still go out with family and friends any chance I get. My family, especially my grandparents taught me how
important it is towards our lives and survival. I'm proud of who I am and that I'm an Inuk (Inuit)formally known as Eskimo.

As a hunter, it is really important to feed our families and families of others. Because there are people who go through hard times even in modern world today. You have to depend on your family whenever there are hard times so sharing meat helps in every way. Especially when you know you are there for them and they are there for you.

My personal experience as a seal hunter, the way I see it in my own opinion, it's really important to go out and hunt seals. It has been passed on to me from my family and people around me. Nothing is wasted and use everything we catch. I often hear people tell me "don't kill what you won't eat or use" and I believe that. I always want to go out seal hunting anytime I can get. Especially during spring when the sun is up 24 hours a day. That is the time when people in the north would go out camping. It's the most beautiful place and time of the year. Whenever we catch a seal we get families to come over to eat. At the same time we get other families to pick up meat. I'd often go to elders and give them meat plus the seal skin. There is no greater feeling good about yourself, when people, especially elders appreciate what you do and what you did for them.

Seal hunting has been and still is passed down from generation to generation. It is still practiced and it's really important towards our culture and tradition. We still go out seal hunting today whether if it's winter or summer. Because we know once we catch them we are going to eat and use the skin.

Seal meat is really good, especially when they are younger ones. We eat the seal meat,brain (best part), raw or cooked and use the skin for clothing. We use seal fat for qulliq (oil lamp) and skin with rashes. Believe it or not it really works! There are people who likes the flippers when they are left in a pan for about a week covered with fat to protect the meat and eat them. Everything is used when we catch seals. There are people who would catch seals when they need to feed their dogs. For the people who still has dog teams because most people prefer to use snowmobile since they are a lot faster.
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