Friday, March 28, 2014

my #sealfie from Cambridge Bay

Here's my #sealfie to support the Inuit hunters who feed their communities with the game they catch, including seal, as well as the skilled artists who make beautiful (and very warm!) clothes and accessories with the fur.

with my sealskin hair pin, my sealskin bowtie, and my husband's sealskin mitts

For the record, it was -51 degrees with the windchill outside when I took this photo. I almost got frostbite again in the few minutes I stood outside!

What's a sealfie?

Well, as you can read in this CBC article, Ellen Degeneres caused an uproar when her selfie at the Oscars became the most retweeted photo ever. The company Samsung offered to donate millions of dollars to a charity of her choice, and Ellen chose the Humane Society of the United States, which is against seal hunting. She then put out a statement on her website calling seal hunting "one of the most atrocious and inhumane acts against animals allowed by any government."

The statement stung many Inuit folks, who have depended on the hunt to live for centuries. One woman, Alethea, wrote an in-depth statement which you can read here. A bunch of people in Nunavut have responded by posting "sealfies", photos of themselves wearing sealskin, on Twitter.

look at more sealfies here!
It's particularly timely when you consider the report  recently released confirming that people in Nunavut have the highest food insecurity rate for any indigenous population in a developed country at 68 per cent. The CBC article reporting on it also noted that 76 per cent of Inuit preschoolers skip meals, while 60 per cent have gone a day without eating. Also, the average cost of groceries for a family of four in Nunavut is $19,760 per year while almost half of Inuit adults earn less than $20,000 annually. We've all seen people, even children, going hungry in town here.  Being able to go out on the land and hunt country food has been one way that people have been able to survive.

On a light note, you have to watch this great music video about the seal hunt from Nunavut band The Jerry Cans:

They also have a biting song called "Dear PETA":

And finally: I hope you're still voting every day for my band Scary Bear Soundtrack for CBC Music's Searchlight contest for Canada's Best New Artist! Even if I haven't written a song about seal hunting. Yet.