Growng up in Fish Camp and Also Becoming a Whaler (Eddie Bodfish)

Video Shot in: 2009

Eddie Bodfish, a native of Wainwright, Alaska, shares his experiences of attending high school in Sitka and his subsequent career in engineering and airport renovation. Despite his ventures outside of Alaska, Eddie’s passion for whaling remained, and he fondly recalls stories from his days as a whaler. He discusses the challenges of hunting whales on the ice and the clever tactics employed by the whales to evade capture. Lots of personal stories here, including falling through the ice when he was a teenager chasing a whale and harpooning a young whale that had just nudged his boat and “given itself” to the hunters. Eddie also reflects on the changing regulations imposed on indigenous communities and the impact on their traditional way of life. He highlights the difficulty faced by those without jobs in providing for their families and mentions the importance of seal hunting during tough times. Additionally, Eddie reminisces about the abundance of polar bears in the past and the significant increase in the value of their skins. Polar bears are still hunted for their skins in Canada but not here on the North Slope of Alaska.