The captain contemplated the walrus tusk. If he listened, it would show him what to carve. It had its own soul, and the captain brought out its beauty through careful craftsmanship. Until he started, he wouldn’t know what color or combination of colors it held. Some pieces had a milky iridescence while others looked creamy…

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The captain bent over the bow of his walrus-skin angyapiget frame. Like other Eskimo master boat builders and ship captains in his village, he needed to recover his craft every three or four years. He always used hides from female walruses because they were smoother, more flexible and easier to work with than the skins…

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Preparing the Hide The captain and his extended family draped the walrus hides across makeshift sawhorses.  They’d fermented the hide until the hair fell.  Now, with sharpened ulus (a traditional moon-shaped knife with a broad steel blade), they scraped off any remaining bits of fat and muscle.  Their hard work paid off:  a couple hours…

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The skiff touched the rocky beach as the captain and his nephew hopped out.  Water lapped at their feet as they steadied the boat so the others could get out. The buzz grew louder as four wheelers brought friends and family to the beach. When they arrived, some grasped the sides of the boat while…

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