DER Documentary

Group Hunting on the Spring Ice

From the Netsilik Eskimo series
directed by Quentin Brown
ethnographic direction by Asen Balikci
color, 95 min, 1967

Group Hunting on the Spring Ice Part 1

Group Hunting on the Spring Ice Part 2

Group Hunting on the Spring Ice Part 3

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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About Group Hunting on the Spring Ice

Part 1, color, 34 minutes - launch preview watch a preview
Late June, and much of the land is bare. There are sounds of running water, and melt ponds shine everywhere. The woman carries heather and moss to camp and the man makes a whirling bullroarer for the boy. Another child pretends to drive a dog sled. A woman is working sinews into bowstrings, while another is busy with a seal skin. A woman prepares to cook a meal and a man makes a bow from bone and sinews. It is a demanding task to combine such materials into a strong supple weapon; the result is pleasing to the man. The next day the men move out on the sea ice with a dog to look for seal pups.

Part 2, color, 28 minutes - launch preview watch a preview
The men are out on the sea ice and the women work at the tasks of camp. Seal skins are pegged to dry in the sun and a woman, baby on her back, picks over a pile of gulls. The birds are skinned and then go into the pot with water from a melt pond. A baby sucks on a bone. The people eat, and then the women visit an old man in his tent. Now the women are out gathering moss for the fires and we see the birds and flowers common to the area. A woman skins a seal pup while another sews skins for a tent. The children play at making camp, and some of the older girls pretend to nurse the fat pups. Then the adults join the fun, playing at juggling.

Part 3, color, 33 minutes - launch preview watch a preview
The men are moving about on the sea ice, probing for unsafe ice and watching for seals. The snow cover is nearly gone now, and the breathing holes have widened. The men sit and wait. One makes a strike with his harpoon and others come to watch. They are ready to eat and relish the good warm blood and the liver. Another hunter succeeds, and then another but this one loses his catch when his thong breaks and the seal slides back into the water. But the party has three seals in tow when they return to camp, and soon the women have the meat exposed and all eat. Then the blubber is packed into the sealskin bags and the men haul it away to the cache.

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
Stalking Seal on the Spring Ice
Building a Kayak
Fishing at the Stone Weir

Related Films
Alaskan Eskimo series
Through These Eyes

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