The US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), has an exemption for Alaska Natives like myself, as we have sustainably and respectfully harvested these species for thousands of years. Waves of misinformation and anti-Indigenous bias have created the erroneous and widely-held impression that sea otters are endangered in the United States and that Indigenous harvest contributes to their decline. In actuality they are not classified as ‘endangered’ under the US Endangered Species Act and research by marine biologists shows that subsistence harvest does not have a negative effect on sea otter stocks. I hand-stitched fur from otters I have respectfully harvested over the span of 14 years, pushing observers to consider if sea otters as a species are truly at risk by Indigenous subsistence or more so by the continued environmental calamities caused by colonialism.
Before a hunt I smudge and pray with Ayuq (Labrador tea), asking the animal for its life; after the hunt I honor the animal by giving it its last drink of water per Yup’ik custom.
Hunting Items: Skinning Knife, Sharpening Stone, .22 Long Hunting Rifle w/ scope & clip (stainless steel Savage Mark 2, Bushnell scope), Pair of Sea Otter Fur Mittens, Fish Snag Hook, Lighter, Ayuq (Labrador tea), Water Bottle