This evening, I had the opportunity to learn how to clean seal skin at Tasiujaq’s culture committee place. Not only did I get to observe, I got to try my hand at scraping the blubber off of the skin Nora and Mary – two women from the community, who are also colleagues of mine – were working on.
It was not an easy feat, but Nora and Mary did it with grace and relative ease. Nora made it look effortless – she was very good at it.
Part of my trouble was due to my lack of experience with uluit (an ulu is a rounded women’s knife used traditionally for anything from skinning and cleaning animals, to eating, to cutting blocks of snow for igloo). The rest of my trouble stemmed from my fear of puncturing the skin by pressing too hard (which, if you hold the ulu properly, at the right angle, this is much easier said than done).
Nevertheless, it was an interesting cultural experience, and the opportunity to experience is awesome. For teaching and sharing this with me, nakurmiik!
Me, cleaning seal skin