Despite the lingering effects of winter, spring whaling has begun in Arctic Alaska and seal hunters are also heading to the coast from Chevak in the Southwest part of the state. Grace Levettte with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission in Barrow confirmed that whaling crews on St Lawrence Island have landed a total of three bowheads so far – two for Gambell and one for Savoonga.
Farther south on the mainland, seal hunters from the Cu’pik community of Chevak are hauling their boats to the coast for spring seal hunts. John Atchak lives in Chevak and is a long time hunter. He’s been watching hunters head to favorite coastal spots toward Hopper Bay and Nelson Island.
He says harbor, spotted and bearded seals are an important part of Cu’pik dinners.
“That’s our mainstay diet in our area and it provides a lot of iron for our bodies, required iron, and it’s a real healthy food,” Atchak said.
Atchak says local hunters haul their boats behind snowmachines on homemade wooden sleds, traveling from eight to 30 miles. He says crews with at least 10 boats have left over the past two days. Sometime in May, when they see the right signs, they will hunt belugas.
“When the herring arrive, that’s when the beluga arrive, along with the fish,” Atchak said.
Atchak says they will hunt until mid May.
- The district has referred 98 children to the Students in Transition program since last week, up from 69 students identified at the same time last year
- U.S. Attorneys are charging 41-year-old Peter Wilson with making false statements to federal agents in the case of a missing girl who was found dead last Friday.
- The Assembly’s grant to the Juneau Housing First Collaborative brings them closer to expanding. The collaborative wants to more than double its capacity to provide permanent, supportive housing for the homeless.
- The changes came two days after the release of a report that found Alaska’s only state-run psychiatric hospital is an unsafe place to work.