For the first time in 30 years, hunters in Igloolik went out to sea and caught a bowhead whale.
They wanted to grant one of the last wishes of Noah Piugatuq, a 94-year-old Igloolik Elder who had said on the radio that he wanted to taste bowhead muktuk before he died.
The bowhead is one of the largest creatures in the Arctic Ocean. It is against Canadian law to hunt them in Nunavut waters because they are considered to be endangered by conservationists.
“The bowhead whale was caught because an Elder requested it and an Elder should be respected and that’s the bottom line,” said Igloolik Mayor Louis Tapardjuk in a Nunatsiaq News article in September. “What happens after that becomes of little importance to them.”
Piugatuq himself had killed a bowhead in the 1960s and taught others in the community how to do it. “Noah had shown this individual back in the 1960s how to make an efficient kill and he used that method that he learned,” said Tapardjuk.
After the 25-foot whale was killed, it was left on the shore of an island and later transported into town, where there was a feast.