The Bowhead Whale - An Inuit Tradition

uasau soap - the story of the bowhead whale

For Inuit, the bowhead whale has always held immense importance. It has been integral to our survival. It provided food and fuel for us across the North, and even transportation - it fed our huskies as well, the main mode of traditional Inuit transportation. 

One whale could feed an entire community for  a year. In a place with scarce resources, the whale was a bounty of wealth. The nutrients provided by the whale  allowed a healthy diet amidst a scarcity of food.

Inuit showed their profound respect for the bowhead by using every last part of the animal, and by hunting them sustainably and humanely. The connection between Inuit and the bowhead stretches back before recorded history and continues today. Hunters still recognize some whales across decades by the whales’ scars.

Bowhead Whale Oil

Bernice Clarke performing qulliq using bowhead whale oil

Bowhead Whale oil has a sacred tradition in Inuit culture. Qulliqs (ᖁᓪᓕᖅ), lamps carved out of stone fueled by whale oil, were originally used for survival and heat. Today they are an important symbol of Inuit perseverance and culture. 

Stories by Elders were told over the warm glow of qulliqs, and today lighting ceremonies continue to honour the value that these whales brought to Inuit . 

We use Bowhead whale oil in many of our products , bringing the healing properties that served Inuit so well in the past into today’s modern world - sustainability and with great respect.