“The materials they worked with, of course, came almost entirely from the animals they hunted.  Eskimos generally regarded these materials as gifts given in accordance with ethical obligations they felt toward the animals.  The two parallel cultures, human and animal, were linked in biological ways and, for the Eskimo, in spiritual ways that are all but lost to our understanding today.  It was the gift rather than the death that was preeminent in the Eskimo view of hunting.”

A footnote in Arctic Dreams, by Barry Lopez 


2 responses to “THE GIFT

  1. James G. Ramsay

    When I was at Northwestern, I had a friend, Zack, who was from the Ivory Coast. He spoke with a French/African accent and had blue-black skin. We were sitting on a park bench on campus when a squirrel hopped past, stopped, picked up a nut, carefully manipulated the nut in its front paws, then began to eat it, rotating the nut shell as it did so. Zack watched, smiled, and said, “They are such clever people,” speaking about the squirrel. I’ve never forgotten the inherent respect for life I learned from Zack with that one wonderful statement. JGR

    • In Faro's Garden

      The clever peep that inhabits my garden is either, like the human resident, prone to misplacement or else, unlike the resident, practices forward thinking, anticipating a forest of walnut trees. In half the pots on the deck one sprouts.

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