It was a bountiful weekend! My husband Joseph, along with his nephews and an uncle, harvested 6 large bearded seals. We dry the meat and render the fat into seal oil, put them together when both are done, and this is called qiniktaq. He gave some to our friends in Atqasuk, and he will be donating some to the Native Village of Barrow’s food bank. The skins were rolled in fat and placed in gunny sacks under the house, and they will be used next spring for the umiaq – seal skin boat used for spring whaling.
At one point, we had four to butcher. Thank goodness for friends willing to come and help! :D
Priscilla Sage and her grandson Ben Roy Sage cut the ribs off of one of the many bearded seals Ben Roy and his family harvested.
Fannie Mitiktaun Suvlu prepares to remove the intestines. The outer skin of the intestines is removed and finely chopped, a delicacy we call qaiq.
Vera Patkotak and Loyla Leavitt work together to butcher a large bearded seal. After butchering is complete, the meat and fat are evenly divided by those who participated in the hunt, the owner of the boat, and those who helped butcher.
Photos by Joseph Napaaqtuq Sage
Nuiqsut resident Jimmy Nukapigak removes whitefish from his net in the Colville River.
Nuiqsut resident Jimmy Nukapigak gives a whitefish to Stretch Miller for storing. Kunneak Nageak is shown here removing the fish from Jimmy’s net along the Colville River.
Photos by Mary Anniagruk Sage