Growing Up in the Whaling Tradition (Eugene Brower)

Video Shot in: 2022

In a captivating zoom conversation with Peter Lourie, Paul Shepson, and Utqiaġvik resident Dr. Craig George, Iñupiaq elder Eugene Brower shares his early experiences with whaling and how it has evolved over the years. He recounts his childhood initiation into whaling, learning from his father and his uncle, Luther Leavitt Sr. Eugene reflects on the past, reminiscing about the challenges of traversing pressure ridges with dogs and sleds. He describes traditional techniques for safe ice travel and the importance of understanding whale behavior. As the conversation progresses, Eugene and Peter discuss the changing population of whales and their awe-inspiring presence in the ocean. Eugene also discusses the practical aspects of whaling, from cooking blubber to the construction of skin boats using driftwood. Despite the physical demands and harsh conditions of whaling, Eugene’s passion for the hunt perseveres, and he proudly shares the legacy of his family’s involvement in this ancient Arctic tradition.