I was impressed with the traditional hunting practices they employed – handmade kayaks and harpoons thrown by hand – and by the respect they appear to have for the animals and for the health of the narwhal population. The hunters made it clear to me that in the village of Qaanaaq, the northernmost municipality on Earth, they have little access to fresh produce or packaged foods, and so they must live on whatever they can harvest by their skill and determination.
These photos provide a visual summary of my experience in Qaanaaq, where I left feeling comfortable with my support of subsistence hunting and with one hunter’s affirmation that, despite his wish that the village quota of 85 narwhals be doubled, no one ever continues hunting after the quota is met.
|Inuit hunters scan the fjord for narwhals.|
|Hunter Mads Ole Kristiansen paddles off in his homemade kayak.|
|Mads Ole tosses his harpoon at a surfacing narwhal.|
|The successful hunter.|
|Close-up of female narwhal harvested by Inuit hunters.|