Innuit youth post "sealfies" to school Ellen DeGeneres about traditional seal-hunting
Responding to U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres' high-profile campaign against seal-hunting, social-media savvy Innuit youth posted "sealfies", explaining how seals were an integral part of survival and woven into the long history of people's culture up north.
The #sealfie is a clever retort to Ellen DeGeneres' famous selfie tweet from the Oscars earlier this month. Korean firm Samsung promised to donate $1 to a charity of DeGeneres' choice every time her photo was retweeted, and she decided to give the funds raised ($1.5 million U.S.) to an anti-seal hunting organization. The cause appears to be close to DeGeneres, since she posted on her website back in 2011 that seal-hunting was "one of the most atrocious and inhumane acts against animals allowed by any government".
Troubled by the lack of information in mainstream media about traditional seal-hunting, a 17-year-old Iqaluit teenager named Killaq Enuaraq-Strauss uploaded a YouTube video to explain to DeGeneres and the public what the practice meant to her people.
"Dear Ellen...I'm Innuit and I'm also a huge fan...that being said, I really hope you're not going to be insulted by what I'm going to say next," Enuaraq-Strauss said, speaking into the camera. “We do not hunt seals, or any animal for that matter, for fashion...We hunt to survive. If Canada were to ban the seal hunt, so many families would suffer, would face harsher forms of malnutrition, and wouldn't be able to afford proper clothing for the Arctic environment we live in."
Enuaraq-Strauss' video got many Innuit to post tweets about seal-hunting as an integral part of their culture. One of them was by professional hockey player Jordin Tootoo, who tweeted to DeGeneres that seal hunting was part of culture and tradition in the north.