Last March 17, rather than spending St. Patrick's Day drinking green beer like other students, the students of Nunavut Sivuniksavut held a demonstration on Parliament Hill to show support for Inuit right to hunt seal.
The students wanted to raise awareness about the importance of the seal hunt to Indigenous communities. Even many animal rights activists who argue for a ban on the seal hunt often indicate that they are willing to make an exception for Indigenous subsistence hunting and mainly want to focus on commercial seal hunters. However, it's important to know that the majority of the commercial seal hunt is actually done by Inuit hunters, whose main source of income is the commercial seal hunt, including income to buy the gas, ammunition and other hunting equipment to get the seal meat to feed their families. It's not so easy to separate the two notions, and the seal hunt bans have had a huge devastating effect on the local economies of Inuit communities, even with a supposed Indigenous exception.
You don't need to take my word for it; there's a thought-provoking film by Nunavut filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril called Angry Inuk which does a thorough job of looking at the issue in an informative yet interesting way. It's definitely worth checking out, no matter what your thoughts on the subject are. There's also a great essay analyzing the colonialist aspects of the issues (although, like I said, you gotta watch the movie!)
The rally involved demonstrations of traditional Inuit throat singing, dancing, and even a sealskin fashion show. I'm always impressed by Nunavut Sivuniksavut students' strong political engagement and eagerness to share their cultural pride with the rest of the world.
|Traditional dancing with drums and singing|
|Acting out a typical seal hunt, including preparing the sled|
|Sealskin fashion show|