Monday, May 17, 2010

Seal Class

kids skin a seal, Bethel, Alaska

Kids at the Ayaprun Elitnaurvik in Bethel, Alaska learn how to skin a seal using the ulu knife or "uluaq" (OO-loke) in Yup'ik. The Kindergarten through Sixth Grade school serves as a model for Native language immersion schools everywhere. Besides language, the kids get instruction in their Yup'ik culture as well.

skinned seal, Bethel, Alaska

The seal, when the kids finish, looks very different than THIS.


  1. Wow! That is fascinating to me. I spent a winter in Ancourage (almost 30 years ago now) and would love to come back and explore all of Alaska. Your daily photographs keep my dream alive. Thank you so much.

  2. Alaska must not have the number of animal protection groups the rest of the states have. I can't imagine skinning a seal; they're sooooooooo cute, and at the young age of Kindergarten. Wow


  3. In Australia, our Indigenous people are the only ones allowed to hunt or fish for Native animals. Just as in Alaska, we call our Indigenous people, Aboriginal.

    I could never conceive of killing a sea turtle or an emu but I guess if it is for culture and food then it is important to pass the skill along. The Indigenous people I work with sometimes offer me Dugon or Turtle but I rarely accept because it is so special to them.

    Me, I like smoked salmon from the grocery shop :) WE do eat Kangaroo though as it is low in fat and the animal is farmed for meat production. Crocodile is also popular but the taste is a bit gamey for me.

  4. Religion and politics are two topics where people never agree and I suppose hunting is another.

    Indigenous people tend not to do it to extremes (in general they only kill an animal when they really need to for food). The problem is that many other groups hunt and kill for the wrong reasons (not out of necessity).

    Most of us are fortunate in that we don't have to and as more of us become educated in animal welfare hopefully better conditions for all animals will follow.

  5. gasp* they killed bambi..oh wait wrong species..
    it's great that they are getting to learn their culture..and very interesting pictures.