Frank Chythlook

Digital Media in a Cultural Context


Screenshot of Seal Divas video

Seal Divas

Guided by the elders, the Alaska Native Heritage Center's High School Program Encourage Leadership students and their instructor organized a demonstration of the Alaska Native traditions regarding the use of seals. The audience was composed of Alaska Native youth who may never have ever seen this practice.

This celebration included a ceremony thanking the seal for giving itself, remembering the practices of old. The Seal Divas DVD commemorating the groundbreaking event was designed to carry forth the reverence and respect of these traditions and the ladies who hold this knowledge.

In the interest of stimulating student pride, the video is set to Greenlandic Inuit music of the rock group "Chilly Friday." The Northern Native peoples share similar values in regards to respect for the animals and life, and the music choice is an homage to this similarity.

During the filming, it turned out that there was one tiny part of the seal the elders did not harvest for use. When the facilitator asked in the Yup'ik language what it was called, the elder responded in English, "Rectum."

The footage includes scenes which may upset sensitive viewers.