DER Documentary

Stalking Seal on the Spring Ice

From the Netsilik Eskimo series
directed by Quentin Brown
ethnographic direction by Asen Balikci
color, 59 min, 1967

Stalking Seal on the Spring Ice Part 1

Stalking Seal on the Spring Ice Part 2

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

Part 1, color, 25 minutes - launch preview watch a preview
The family is on the shore of Pelly Bay in May-June. A seal basks beside its hole under a warming sun. The hunter stalks the seal, kills it and drags it to the family camp on shore. Man and wife skin the seal, cutting the hide into rings that girdle the body. Stripped of blubber, the rings are then cut spirally into long thongs. The boy plays on the shingle imitating the circling gulls, while the man stretches his thongs between rocks and scrapes away the fur. The woman dresses the seal, wasting nothing, braiding the intestines.

Part 2, color, 34 minutes - launch preview watch a preview
A seal is seen nosing from a snow-melt pool. The hunter sits at the door of his tent shaping a new bone tip for his harpoon. The woman is in the tent sewing a fur mitten. They eat a little frozen fish; then the hunter finishes his harpoon and sets out after seal. After a long imitative stalk, the hunter moves too soon, alerting the seal, and his harpoon misses. In camp the woman skins a flipper and the boy plays. The hunter prepares for a night vigil at the breathing hole of the seal. Next morning the woman scrapes a seal skin, the boy plays on shore, and the hunter still waits for the seal. When again he fails, he turns to egg collecting on the cliff where the gulls nest. Finally the family packs its belongings on a bear skin and shifts along the coast to another area.

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
Building a Kayak
Fishing at the Stone Weir

Related Films
Alaskan Eskimo series
Through These Eyes

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