aglu - breathing hole

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aglu - breathing hole

aglu - breathing hole

Indigenous Knowledge

allu ᐊᓪᓗ
'seal hole in ice, 5, 6 adg' (Nunavimmiutitut; Schneider 1985: 20; 5 = Ungava region, except Tasiujaq, Akulivik, Aupaluk
6 = West Hudson's Bay)

aglu ᐊᒡᓗ
'seal's breathing hole' (Nattilingmiutut; Aglukkaq, Hadlari & Jansen-Hadlari 2023: 2)

Western Knowledge

Seals are mammals and despite spending much of their time hunting cod underwater, they still need to breath. In the winter when much of the sea freezes over, seals use their sharp claws to make holes in the ice to facilitate breathing. While necessary for survival, breathing holes are also a liability that the predators such as polar bears and humans exploit. Hunters patiently wait at seal breathing holes with a harpoon or rifle, in the hope that a seal will eventually come to the surface. Based on years of experience, expert hunters know how to safely find breathing holes in the sea ice.

Profile photo credit: Joel Heath
Second photo credit: Joel Heath