Johnny Qissiq

It was around 1979 that the value of sealskins really went down.  We have no control over this situation, so we are more or less resigned to it.

I am afraid of what might happen if these conservation groups that have made governments stop the sale of sealskins continue their pressure.  It might get to the point that they will stop us from hunting seals at all.

In the days when there was no electricity or fuel, all parts of the seal were used, including the fat for seal oil lamps and heating.  Since the introduction of electricity and gas there is no use like this for seal blubber, only as misiraq to make the seal meat go down better.  Since the blubber is not used as much as before, we usually take the best parts for eating and leave the rest for scavengers.  What has been discarded quickly disappears.  At the floe edge in winter, if you skin a seal and leave the guts and go back there later you won’t find anything left.

In times past, if one seal was caught for a family for two days, the dogs had to get about twice as much. Of course, it depended on the use of the dogs.  If they were used a lot, they had to be fed a lot more.  Dogs were later eliminated to avoid the spread of rabies and the danger to children.  This is a new relationship we have with dogs, petting them.  In the past, children weren’t allowed to go near the dogs.

There seems to be fewer seals coming around this area since people moved from their camps and into the village, using boats and other machines that make noise.  There are fewer seal hunters now.  The younger generation isn’t hunting as much as people did in the old days.  Young people today just seem to be looking for anything that gives them a thrill or keeps them amused.  They’re not serious about doing anything productive.  It’s getting so that some of them are becoming useless to themselves and their families. 

(Taqralik, June 1985, page 41)