Inuit must have the knowledge to understand the sea and its ever-changing faces and successful hunters must also know and understand the locations and patterns of behavior of the marine mammals, fish and birds that make their home in the Arctic seas.

Some species, such as the ringed seal and the bearded seal, can be found in many places, while others such as the walrus, beluga whale and polar bear can only be found at specific places at certain times of the year.

Inuit have acquired specialized knowledge that enables us to understand these patterns of animal movement and behavior. Because of this deep understanding and because of our skills and technology used in hunting we have been able to successfully harvest the resources of the sea in all seasons of the year.

This type of knowledge is often not held by a single person. Women are often knowledgeable about certain travel routes or good anchorage’s and some individuals may know more about certain places or species. So knowledge and hunting is a group effort. This is strengthened by the fact that Inuit share their harvest, again reaffirming the importance of the group.
Inuit must have the knowledge to understand the sea and its ever-changing faces and successful hunters must also know and understand the locations and patterns of behavior of the marine mammals, fish and birds that make their home in the Arctic seas.

Some species, such as the ringed seal and the bearded seal, can be found in many places, while others such as the walrus, beluga whale and polar bear can only be found at specific places at certain times of the year.

Inuit have acquired specialized knowledge that enables us to understand these patterns of animal movement and behavior. Because of this deep understanding and because of our skills and technology used in hunting we have been able to successfully harvest the resources of the sea in all seasons of the year.

This type of knowledge is often not held by a single person. Women are often knowledgeable about certain travel routes or good anchorage’s and some individuals may know more about certain places or species. So knowledge and hunting is a group effort. This is strengthened by the fact that Inuit share their harvest, again reaffirming the importance of the group.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Seals

Ringed seal are agile swimmers with a strong sense of smell.

Courtesy of Parks Canada.

© Parks Canada


Stencil

Sea Dance.

Kananginak Pootoogook
Courtesy of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.
1994
Stonecut/stencil
© West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.


Photo

Polar bears do most of their hunting in the sea and on the sea ice. Their webbed feet make them strong swimmers.

Photo by Eric Loring.

© Eric Loring


Bear with cubs

"Attiqtaliq" (Bear with cubs)

Kananginak Pootoogook
Courtesy of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.
1997
Stonecut
© West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.


Belouga

The arrival of beluga whales in the spring is an anxiously awaited event.

Photo by W. Kemp

© W. Kemp


Beluga with Young

Beluga with young.

Aoudla Pudlat
Courtesy of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.
1994
Lithograph
© West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.


Walrus herd

A walrus can weigh as much as 1,200 kilograms and be as long as 3.5 meters.

Photo by Eric Loring

© Eric Loring


walrus

Walrus Watch Newborn.

Mayoreak Ashoona
Courtesy of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.
1984
Stonecut/stencil
© West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Explain what it means for the Inuit to have “specialized knowledge” of the sea and its resources
  • Name and recognize some of the animals that are part of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem

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