the Great Spirit created this land, he made many wondrous and good
things. He made the sun, the moon, and the stars. He made the great land
white with snow, and the ocean. He made fish of all kinds and the many
birds. He made the seals, the walrus, and the great bears. Then the
Great Spirit made the Iñupiaq. He had a special love for the people and
showed them how to live by using everything around them.
after making all this, the Great Spirit decided to make one thing more,
this would be the best creation of all. The Great Spirit made this
being with great care. It was the Bowhead Whale. It was indeed the most
beautiful and the finest of the things made by the Great Spirit. As the
whale swam, flowing through the ocean, it sang its beautiful song, and
lived in perfect balance with everything around it.
the Great Spirit saw that the Iñupiaq needed the Bowhead Whale to
survive. They needed to eat maktak, the flesh of the whale, to keep warm
and healthy during the long cold nights. They needed its bones to help
build their homes. They needed every part of the great whale.
the Great Spirit gave the Bowhead to the Iñupiaq. He gave them a way to
hunt it from their boats covered with bearded seal hide. He made a
special time each spring, when the ice of the ocean would break apart to
form a road where the whales could swim. In that whale road, the Open
Lead, the whales would come to the surface and offer themselves, waiting
to be struck by the harpoons. They would continue to do so every year
as long as the Iñupiaq showed respect to the Bowhead, as long as they
took only what they needed in order to survive.
But the Great Spirit decided this also at
that time each year, when the Open Lead formed and the whales came to
the surface to be hunted, the Great Spirit made a heavy cloud of thick
mist that would hang just above the heads of the Iñupiaq and the whales.
During the hunt the thick mist would hang there between the sea and the
sky blocking the view of the Great Spirit.