"Inuit are a maritime people. The sea and sea ice are our front yard. They are as much a part of our way of life as the family farm has been for the agrarian societies of this world. For most of us, the most important and reliable food since our arrival in the Arctic in ancient times has been the seal. We have hunted seals to sustain life itself in a world that is as harsh as it is beautiful.
We have harvested seals to feed ourselves, our children, our elders and the rest of our people in the Arctic. We have used seals to feed the dog teams that help us to hunt. We have used the pelts of seals to clothe ourselves and, in more recent times, to generate a modest level of cash from sales to the outside world. That flow of cash might not look like much to those who plan the EU's operating budget or who take in millions of dollars from members of the public through anti-sealing campaigns. But, for Inuit hunters, it often makes the difference between being able to pay for the costs of hunting in today's world - rifles, ammunition, a snowmobile and gas - or being rendered sedentary in the community.
For Inuit, hunting is not just about feeding families. It is also about sustaining our unique language and culture in a world that has all too often maligned or devalued them. The teaching of hunting skills from one generation to another is a way we build solidarity between generations and within families. The sharing of country food among households in communities is a way in which we show compassion for those who are ill, infirm or finding it hard to cope. Sharing is a way of reminding ourselves who we are as a people, what we value as a people, and what we have in common with the rest of the world."
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(The Globe and Mail 3/11)