2009 Heading for the Spring Whaling

Written and Photographed by Mary Virginia Anniagruk Lum Sage;
Page 2

6.      We still use the traditional umiaq – seal skin boat, for spring whaling. Eight bearded seal skins are sewn together using waterproof stitches with sinew made from caribou muscles.

7.      Frank Nageak, 10, is ready to go on the ice with the crew. He is the youngest member of the Akootchook Whaling Crew. The crew’s sign is the traditional marking for the Akootchook family and is shown on his hat: | / |

8.      Andrew Akootchook Sage, 5,  watches as his father, co-captain Joseph Napaaqtuq Sage, leaves the beach and heads onto the ice.

9.      Akootchook Whaling Crew co-captain Joseph Napaaqtuq Sage leads the way to the trail on the ice. The crew worked hard on breaking a trail to their desired spot chopping and removing ice in their path. Notice how much water is around! We normally see this in late May, but we’ve experienced an record-breaking warm spell last week that resulted in a lot of melt water.

10.     The Akootchook Whaling Crew heads out on the ice, down to their whaling camp, which is a little more than a mile from the beach.

Page 1   Page 2   Catching the First Whale


Inupiaq culture by Mary Anniagruk Sage Native Village Home Page