Traditional seal stretching in Emmonak

Monalisa Andrews of Emmonak stretched five sealskins for drying all on her own last week.  The seals were caught by her husband Jordan and his brothers. She learned how to cut and take care of seals from her grandmother and mom, starting when she was very young. photo by Moses Harpak

Monalisa Harpak Andrews has been busy this fall working on their family’s subsistence harvest of seals. Her husband Jordan Andrews and his brothers caught the seals from the ocean, west of Emmonak. Monalisa, her mom Maggie, and her mother-in-law Julie worked together to take care of their catch. Monalisa skinned half of them and she took care of the stretching all on her own. “I don’t have any set plans on what to use them as after tanning them. But perhaps mittens, fur hats, maybe boots, and my ultimate goal one day would be a parka,” she said. She learned how to take care of seals from her grandmother Lucille Westlock and from her mom, starting at a young age. “I watched my mom and grandma for as long as I could remember.” Good job Monalisa!