Monday, November 7, 2011

Heart of Seal

CANADA'S GOVERNOR-GENERAL stirred the media pot last week. Michaelle Jean, the snazziest politician since John Kennedy, was photographed skinning a fresh-killed seal and then eating a slice of its heart. It was a big story up North. The European Union Parliament had just banned the import of sealskin – by a huge margin – because of the alleged cruelty in the manner in which seals are dispatched. This kind of thing drives the Inuit people crazy. They are fighting to save what they can of a great hunter culture, and squeamishness posing as compassion seems a calculated affront.

So when Governor-General Jean appeared two days later at a high school gym in Iqaluit, Nunavut, the crowd roared. She could do no wrong. I say this as an eyewitness (even though Gretchen Dykstra has warned me not to let this blog become a travel journal). The day after the speech in the gym, our tiny group of Inuitophiles joined a hunting party that, yep, killed and sliced open a young seal. And we sure had to swallow some seal heart.

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