Friday, 26 October 2012

whalers: your good hands

Aicho Island whaling boat


Your good hands; your good feet.
Move them; move them.
You don’t mind being wet; you don’t mind getting soaked!
Kowk! Blubber!
Cold hands! Good feet Ja-gee-ja

Qiirq! Hurry!

Yes, the Inuit enjoyed the whaling; they even speared more whales than the qallunaat. When they were pulling the dead whales, from what I’ve heard, they used to sing. I’ve heard the song, though the first words are not too fresh in my mind. My grandmother used to sing the song when she was working around the house. She used to whistle it.
Isaccie Ikudluak, Kimmirut

song + story source:


Whaling Tales by Shirley Tagalik

Image sources:

Artist: Jeetaloo Akulukjuk / Printmaker: Jacoposie Tiglik

A Maori tale:  
 P¯ atahi  



Patahi tells her story, another considers at length


life goes on  "I come from a fairly typical New Zealand small town family of 5 children, with Scottish, Irish and Maori ancestry. My great-great grandfather on my father's, Edwin Palmer, was a whaler who first came to the southern coasts of the South Island in the 1820's and settled in Waikouaiti with a young Ngai Tahu woman, Patahi, my great-great grandmother."


An ancient legend from Lamalera tells of how the whales originated from the mountain many years ago. The story tells of two sacred cows which lived high on the steep mountain slopes above Lamalera. One night, the two cows began to walk towards the sea. The female cow reached the water first and when she entered the sea she became a whale and swam away. However, the bull did not reach the water before the sun rose and when the first light of the day fell upon him he turned into a large stone in the shape of a whale. 


The fossils found in Pakistan last year [2000] add weight to the second theory: that whales descended from the group of animals known as artiodactyls, whose members include sheep, cows, pigs, camels, deer, and hippos. Artiodactyla (Greek artios, entire or even numbered, and dactylos, finger or toe) are named for the even number of fingers and toes (two or four) found on each hand and foot.

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