Seal Hunting Season

by Nicole Charlie

It is the time of the year in spring where men in villages go out to the ocean and hunt seal for food. The women keep the seal after the men take it home to cut and cook or save it for the winter to eat.

Women are not supposed to let the men take care of the seal when they get home. Females are supposed to prepare the males stuff for the hunting, and let them eat and rest when they get home from a long day of hunting.

There are different types of seals and different ways you can eat them. For example, Qassaq (the liver) can be eaten raw. It is high in iron. The intestines can be eaten raw or cooked. They can cut off the feet and age them to eat later on. The meat can be cooked medium rare or full. The fat can be cut and stored for seal oil (uquq). The skin can be hung for designing later.

There is a type of seal that men catch and the family hosts an uqiquq (seal party). It has to be his first catch to actually make the party happen. When they have a seal party, people gather around the family’s house and wait. The elders usually sit in front and the woman distribute seal meat and goodies to them. Next they throw all types of goodies.

Nicole Charlie is from Toksook Bay. This article was first published in the Warrior Weekly April 25th, 2019, a publication of the Bethel Regional High School.