December 2, 2008

Whaling Day....School Closed....

We received a call last night that school is closed tomorrow because a different family had been successful in hunting another whale! 2 whales in 2 days is such an exciting adventure for the community, and us as teachers. This was a very surreal experience. School closed because of a whale? I have never thought of something like that! The district sets aside 3 days for closure of the school in the case of a whale hunt, which helps the community out as well. I think it's so important that we respect the ways of life here in Gambell. So, today we took our skis and headed towards the north beach again to watch the hunt of the whale. This time when we arrived, there was meat that was already divided laying on the ground. The captain of the whale crew gets the first cut of the meat, then the other members of the crew, and then finally divided among the other families in the community. Yesterday's whale was given to the men of the village, and today, the women. This is such a neat custom that these villagers have, and it's such a neat way of life.
Here are some more pictures for our enjoyment:

Here are the hunters with their spears, taking a break from cutting the meat:
Here are the sections of meat! There was a lot:
The men climb right on the whale to get to the meat:
And a close up: I'm not sure what the black part is, but I'm going to find out and then let you know.

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