Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Seal retriever

igił.haq “seal retriever”
Language: Malimiut Iñupiaq

This is a retriever for seals, igił.haq. They shot a seal and then they got a long line and they threw it.

—Kenneth Toovak, 2002

Swimming seals shot with a rifle can be recovered before they sink with a wooden retriever attached to a rope or leather line. The method is to swing the retriever in a circle and cast it so that it lands just beyond the floating animal. A strong jerk embeds the sharp metal hooks and the seal can then be pulled in.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Kotzebue Sound, Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 30cm
Accession Date: 1910
Source: U.S. Department of Interior (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E260557B