Beck Revives Tradition of
Story & photos
by Chris Wilhelm
May 19, 2004
Ketchikan, AK - A local man has revived a Native tradition of
hunting seals. Don Beck, a Haida Native, was visited recently
while cleaning several seal skins at a Ketchikan home. Beck,
born and raised in Ketchikan, has enjoyed practicing his traditional
right to subsistence harvest from the local seal population.
Don Beck cleans a seal
To clean the seal skins, Beck stretches the skins over a wood
frame. Beck said he uses 18 gauge string to spread the skins
tight. Then a special soap solution is used to scrub the skins
clean of oils and residue.
After a thorough and repeated
scrubbing, the seal hides are sent to Anchorage for tanning.
After tanning, the hides return to Ketchikan where they are
shared for traditional crafts and adornment. Uses for the soft,
lovely skins include decorations for purses and garments.
It would be unusual to make
one item entirely from the seal skins. Instead, the hides are
mapped out and cut into decorations for vests, boots, moccasins,
purses, and bags in such a way that the natural design of the
fur can be used for its maximum beauty in adornment. Both the
male and female hides are harvested. Often, the females are
quite a bit larger and yield more useable material. Beck took
the seals from waters near Revilla Island.
Hides stretch for cleaning...
Chris Wilhelm ©2004
E-mail your news &
photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Post a Comment
an Opinion - Letter
Stories In The News