DER Documentary

Fishing at the Stone Weir

Fishing at the Stone Weir

From the Netsilik Eskimo series
directed by Quentin Brown
ethnographic direction by Asen Balikci
color, 57 min, 1967

Fishing at the Stone Weir Part 1

Fishing at the Stone Weir Part 2

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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About Fishing at the Stone Weir

Part 1, color, 30 minutes - launch preview watch a preview
Full summer, and the tundra is bare; skin tents are up and it is time to attend to the fishing as the fish move upstream. The men are in the river, lifting stones and placing them to form enclosures to trap the fish. A woman skins a duck and then braids her hair in the old way, stiffly around sticks. From a bladder she makes a balloon for the child. The men are fishing with the three-pronged leisters, spearing the fish and stringing them on a thong, until it is as much as a man can do to drag his catch from the water. The woman works quickly, cleaning the fish, and then all enjoy bits of the fresh raw fish.

Part 2, color, 27 minutes
There are many men fishing now and even the children on shore imitate the motions of the men. Rain sweeps over the tundra but the work goes on, the men splashing through the weir, furs hitched high, seemingly little affected by the cold water. The haul is large. A man makes fire with a bowdrill and soon there is a blaze under the stone cooking pot. Fish are stewed and eaten, the men staying in their own group. There is a little play at cat's cradle while stories are told, and then the women return to cleaning fish and the men to building stone caches to store and protect the plentiful harvest for the leaner days to come.

About the Netsilik Eskimo series
These films reveal the live reality of traditional Eskimo life before the European acculturation. The Netsilik Eskimos of the Pelly Bay region in the Canadian Arctic had long lived apart from other people and had depended entirely on the land and their own ingenuity to sustain life through the rigors of the Arctic year. The filming was done during the summers of 1963 and 1964 and in the late winter of 1965 under the ethnographic direction of Dr. Asen Balikci of the University of Montréal, assisted by Guy Mary-Rousseliere, O.M.I., both anthropologists of wide Arctic experience. Quentin Brown was Producer-Director, and Kevin Smith the Executive Producer for the series.

other films in the Netsilik Eskimo series:
At the Caribou Crossing Place
At the Autumn River Camp
At the Winter Sea Ice Camp
Jigging for Lake Trout
At the Spring Sea Ice Camp
Group Hunting on the Spring Ice
Stalking Seal on the Spring Ice
Building a Kayak

Related Films
Alaskan Eskimo series
Through These Eyes

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