Monday, May 28, 2012

More about Point Hope

I just want to describe a little more about my experience in Point Hope:

 It was pretty evident that the community still highly relies on sustenance whaling as a major source for food. The locals kept saying how proud they were of their whaling crews for already bringing in 5 whales and lots of beluga. In fact, Joe, the restaurant owner cooked us a meal of beluga and bowhead whale (muktuk) on our last night in Point Hope. It was very chewy....

Point Hope is also know for their baleen baskets. Baleen is the filter-feeder system inside the mouths of the bowhead whales that catches the krill. Local artists utilize the baleen by making not only baskets, but pieces of jewelry, wall hangings, business card holders, etc. I bought a basket with some of the cash my father gave me (thanks Dad!). It was handcrafted by a 4th (or was it 5th?) generation basket maker, the 12 year old son (James Omnik Jr) of the very skilled artist James Omnik, Sr. The baskets are made of weaved baleen and walrus ivory, and usually run about $100 per inch, unless you can barter really well! 

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