At the Time of Whaling
Part of the Series: Alaskan Eskimo Series

At the Time of Whaling
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In Iirgu's Time
Part of the Series: Alaskan Eskimo Series
Iirgu is an elder from the Siberian Yupik Eskimo village of Gambell on St. Lawrence Island. As two grandchildren listen, Iirgu recounts events in Gambell from the time the first missionaries arrived. His story is known as an ungipamsuk or true historical narrative. With ambivalent feelings, he describes more recent…
At the Winter Sea Ice Camp, Part 4
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 4, color, 35 minutes A bitter wind blows and the dogs huddle in the snow. In the igloo, the children scratch in the rime on the ice window. A man takes out his tool-pouch and drills the stone trough he is making, using bow and spindle. Children play with…
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In the summer of 2001, under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a totem pole in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University was returned to its original owners' ancestors, a Tlingit community in Southeast Alaska. The journey of the pole began a hundred years ago when it was…
At the Spring Sea Ice Camp, Part 2
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 2, color, 27 minutes The men are hunting seal through the sea-ice in the bleak windy weather. The wind disturbs the "tell-tales," made of eider down or a hair loop on a bone, that signal when a seal rises to breathe. A hunter strikes, kills and drags his catch…
Group Hunting on the Spring Ice, Part 3
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
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Building a Kayak, Part 2
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 2, color, 33 minutes As the kayak takes shape there are more ribs to be split and shaped to fit, more soaking, bending and binding, more skins to soak and scrape and soak again before stretching them tightly on the frame and sewing them in place. Now the outer…
Stalking Seal on the Spring Ice, Part 2
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
About Stalking Seal on the Spring Ice Part 2, color, 34 minutes - launch preview watch a preview A seal is seen nosing from a snow-melt pool. The hunter sits at the door of his tent shaping a new bone tip for his harpoon. The woman is in the tent…
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Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 1, color, 34 minutes Late June, and much of the land is bare. There are sounds of running water, and melt ponds shine everywhere. The woman carries heather and moss to camp and the man makes a whirling bullroarer for the boy. Another child pretends to drive a dog…
Stalking Seal on the Spring Ice, Part 1
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
About Stalking Seal on the Spring Ice Part 1, color, 25 minutes - launch preview watch a preview The family is on the shore of Pelly Bay in May-June. A seal basks beside its hole under a warming sun. The hunter stalks the seal, kills it and drags it to…
At the Winter Sea Ice Camp, Part 1
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 1, color, 36 minutes In late winter when the cold is severe, the people and dogs are glad to stop their trek and make camp. In the blue dusk the men probe the snow and then cut building blocks while the women shovel a site. Soon all are under…
Building a Kayak, Part 1
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Part 1, color, 32 minutes Now it is July - summer. The run-off is in full spate and open water shows offshore. Ice cakes melt on the shingle. On the bay are ducks. It is time to build a kayak, a task shared by two men. They gather materials: valuable…
At the Caribou Crossing Place, Part 2
Part of the Series: Netsilik Eskimo Series
Two men arrive at the camp and the four build from stones a long row of manlike figures, inukshult, down toward the water. They wait for caribou and then chase them toward the stone figures and so into the water where other men in kayaks spear them. The dead animals…