#sealfie vs. #selfie

Ellen DeGeneres, don’t just be the next beautiful, blonde celebrity to crush an aboriginal people & run.

Sealskin coat, caribou fur pants, wolf fur boots, borrowed from Aaju Peter.

Sealskin coat, caribou fur pants, wolf fur boots, borrowed from Aaju Peter.

Today I wrote and sent a letter to Ellen DeGeneres. Please see it in the facebook post at the bottom of this entry. The subject is very relevant to the documentary film I am working on at the moment, called Angry Inuk. It’s called “Angry” to be ironic, because of how Inuit have a tendency to be calm and respectful even when we’re really mad or upset about something.

Ellen recently broke the record for the most retweeted picture of all time with her Oscar Awards ceremony #selfie. The huge company Samsung agreed to donate $1 to a charity of her choice for every retweet she got. She chose to donate to HSUS, which acts against seal hunting, and she shared some very drastic and strong words against seal hunting herself. My heart broke.

I am a fan of Ellen’s, and I had a moment where I thought “Oh no! Not you too! But I want to keep liking you!”. However, Ellen cannot know how she is hurting us if we don’t let her know. We can’t blame her for only having the animal rights groups’ point of view if we don’t reach out to let her know how we’re affected! So if you agree, please write to her to let her know how you feel. If you are not sure how to say it, or don’t have a lot of time, please feel free to cut and paste what I wrote as a basis for your letter. I am trying to have faith in Ellen as a human being, and I will not assume she won’t listen or understand, given the chance.

Another idea that my hilarious friend Laakkuluk Williamson came up with: post a picture of yourself wearing sealskin and send it to her by twitter with the hashtag #sealfie in reference to her famous and heavily retweeted #selfie.

Please take a minute to watch the video in the FB post, and most importantly, take a second to “like” Killaq’s sweet and eloquent video. If we get enough views (they are piling up fast already!), maybe she will manage to get Ellen’s attention.

Best of luck to my fellow Inuit and other seal-loving friends. This is an opportunity for our voice to be heard, let’s not let it slip by without trying.

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    24 Responses to #sealfie vs. #selfie

    1. Pingback: URL

    2. Lil Bell says:

      Yes I agree with the Iqaluit, Nunavut, and Inuit comments. I personally have supported Ellen’s show and have watched because of the entertainment factor. I like to use the work entertainment and not real life like most people are living.
      I am basically a Canadian that shares this wonderful country with so many new and old cultures such as the people from out north. I support their basic human need to sustain their lives for food and economics in support of the their continued ability to keep out country diverse. It is not these people that over fished and and slaughtered animals to wear the clothing for vanity.
      What I see is a community that wears the clothing to keep warm and the meat for daily food. I think Ellen should walk a mile in their shoes before she sends donations from a photo ope to people that need to get real jobs. We are talking about human existence not running around with as a professional picketer.
      Ellen I am disappointed in your lack of understanding in the Northern communities and the impacts you people are having on their livelihood.


    3. Nuka says:

      i too like watching the Ellen show, but for her to think that the seal hunt is inhumane…has she ANY idea what the whole seal is used for? the Inuit long before our generations have been hunting this for food, clothing, shelter, travel and much more and we still use it like they did. why is it that “famous” people like to use their “power” to try to harm what keeps us alive? because they are ignorant. what does she eat anyway? vegetables are alive, meat (well we all know they were once alive)..so what does the “famous ellen” eat? i am proud to be Inuk and will continue to learn our culture, eat our food and protect my kids future from ignorant people that this world has to offer.

    4. Kevin Lowney says:

      Mabey we should make a show about the seal hunt. Swamp People is about killing animals is it not, at the first of the show it says it been a way of life in the swamps. All they do is kill and sell the hide and meat. but yet Hollywood backs this kind of slaughter. I say put Ellen and all the other so called protestors of the seal hunt out on a ice flow and let them stay warm and fed. we wont have long to wait and we will not have to worry about them. I think if they dont like the way we do things in Canada then stop making money off of us, Stop all their shows from being aired in canada and do not let them in.

      Way to go Alethea/Aggiuq

    5. Pingback: Ellen DeGeneres targeted by #sealfie campaign | Globalnews.ca

    6. David g. says:

      I’m sorry but your friend didn’t come up with the hashtag #sealfie. A simple search of the hashtag on twitter will show my friend Leila Beaudoin started the trend. But that’s besides the point, please don’t forget that us east coasters also depend on the seal hunt as well!

      • aarnaquq says:

        It seems there are a few people that came up with the idea independently. Someone in Greenland was also doing sealfies. In any case, we’re all working together for the same cause!

    7. Jenny C says:

      So embarrassing, I have spent so many years personally involved in the First Nations and Inuit rights and cultural awareness in Canada, only to see so many people don’t know the difference between the words “vegan” and “racist”. Ellen is an animal rights activist, she doesn’t give a crap what you’re eating, if it is ethical, or if your coat keeps you warm in the cold. Saving cute animals keeps _her_warm in the cold. I think both parties are entitled to their opinion, but one is using fame to create positive change for many animals -including but not limited to the over-hunting of seals by non-First Nations parties, while another is capitalizing on making a mockery out of a celebrity who is incredibly involved in human rights. If I use the small-minded and one-sided logic of the Inuit argument I must deduce that by the same means, the Inuit do not value the rights of _any_ animals.

    8. Shannon McArthur says:

      I am so very proud of my Canadian women Relations! Our voices need to be heard and when the messages come from our hearts like yours and Killaq’s it is like the best music ever! Tradition has carried humanity through eons to where we are now, able to look back with aversion on the inherited practices of our parents’ parents’ parents, etc. They did not create global warming. They did not create oil spills. Instead, they found ways to use the gifts given by the World around them, and gave back. Yours is not an easy place to live. Not for you nor for the animals. Dieing of old age has no dignity when you are alone, as each seal is. Honouring their vibrant life by gifting a swift death at the prime of life can be viewed in a positive way. Better than being kept in a box, fed chemicals instead of grass and then bonked on the head and slaughtered to feed people unaware. Wearing their skins and making their bodies part of our bodies are ways we can honour them, for the gifts they give us. Honour the animals!

    9. Freyja says:

      I suppose instead of judging an entire race as being “barbaric” you should walk a mile in their shoes.
      I grew up in Yellowknife, NT, and the cost of food there is pretty high. Now can you imagine having to FLY it in? Paying an obscene amount of money for fresh vegetables and packaged processed meats?
      Of course the Northern Indigenous hunt! Ellen, you try to plant a garden in Iqualuit! And what is there to hunt?
      Ellen, you find something other than caribou, seals, and other aquatic species!
      Have you, Ellen, spent ANY time in the Canadian Arctic? No? Oh, I didn’t think so.
      Perhaps you should experience first hand before you judge an entire race of people. People who have been surviving in the worlds HARSHEST climate and thrive. People who honor their food by making sure not a part is wasted. People who have feelings and used to look up to you.
      You’re statements are just ignorant and one sided. Get the full picture before you make a fool of yourself on national tv, cause now you just appear uneducated on the subject.

    10. Craig says:

      Indigenous peoples of the world have been grossly maligned and miss-understood for centuries and it’s a loss to us all in the “modern world”.. It’s the modern world that has lost it’s roots in nature and the earth, which have allowed us to get where we are at today. Is subsistence hunting wrong? How can it be worse than the factory farms and factory killing system that feeds billions daily? But yet we all need to eat. From my studies, subsistence peoples of the world are much more respectable of the natural world.

      Killaq Enuaraq-Strauss, You go girl! I applaud you for your bravery to speak out! May you be successful on your quest!

    11. Pingback: ‘Sealfies’ Protest Ellen DeGeneres’s Anti-Seal Hunt Stance (TWEETS) | RUBOU: more news. more often.

    12. Joannie says:

      Dear Alethea:
      I totally support you – how wonderful that you are
      Standing up to these celebs who criticize indiginous
      Seal hunting, yet somehow don’t “see” the rampant
      Cruel treatment of animals in their own back yard –
      Especially in the US where cattle, pigs, poultry, etc. are jammed
      Into feedlots & cages & suffer terribly.
      Ellen & Hollywood should clean up their country first!

    13. julie johnson says:

      Alethea, I have no problem with tribes killing animals for survival. If correct, the Inuit use every part of the seal. As well as with the other animals they kill. Which is why I have no problem with the killing in itself.I know they are also allowed to kill polar bear. I have no problem with that. It ISN’T that the seals are killed that people really have a problem with. It is the BARBARRICK way they killed.
      There is absolutely NO reason to club an animal to death. Putting them through LONG, AGONIZING PAIN.
      WHY NOT kill them INSTANTLY (HUMANELY). With a bullet… arrow to the head. Slit their throat, (club in the
      head-if that is a possible way to kill instantly).Polar bears and other animals your and other tribes kill are not
      TORTURED to death. The size of the animal is no excuse.
      Kill an animal for food, clothing. NOT for SPORT. And certainly not in an BARBARRICK way. Clubbing certainly
      isn’t easier than shooting, etc. And I would hope you aren’t getting ENJOYMENT out of making an animal suffer.

    14. LARRY says:

      when people don’t hunt and harvest the bounty of wildlife the animals become over abundant and don’t find enough food. Many animals will suffer a long while starving to death. Or disease will take many of them and who can put up the money then to help the suffering animals. Foxes and coyotes became over abundant in Manitoba a few years back and then a disease struck called mange. It was a horrible thing to see so many beautiful animals freeze to death in the winter because they lost their hair. Keep hunting and harvesting in a humane and respectful way to the wildlife.

    15. Charly Stewart says:

      Dear Alethea,

      Your approach to this issue is wonderful and I know there are very many people who support you but are reserved. I encourage them to be visible. I think it is also very interesting that Samsung who donated a dollar for every tweet has a multimillion dollar contract with the Ontario Government to provide oversight to solar power development. Perhaps the profits they make from that project can be used to support the humane, sustainable seal hunt and the native people’s way of life to offset the terrible damage it created with Ms. DeGeneres. Perhaps the Premier of the Province of Ontario would be willing to discuss why Ontario has a contract with a company that is so very much against the native way of life.
      Best to you and your campaign to right this terrible wrong

      Charly Stewart

    16. Pingback: Inuit tweet ‘sealfies’ to protest Ellen’s Oscars selfie | Proshare

    17. Pingback: Canadian Inuit post ‘sealfies’ after Ellen DeGeneres donates $1.5M from Oscar selfie to anti-sealing campaign | VancouverNe.ws

    18. George Fleet says:

      Dear Alethea,
      I had not heard where the money was donated to until I accidentally came across your article.
      I want to start by saying I hunted for many years. Moose, elk, deer, rabbits, squirrels, bear, if it walked I killed it. However, I don’t anymore. Gave it all up and I’d rather be with nature than destroy it, but that is my own personal journey.
      So after reading all that you’re probably thinking I’m against you, your letter to Ellen and the Inuit. Just the complete opposite. The Inuit and other Native tribes who hunt, it is not only part of their culture and history but in many cases a necessity. I totally support you and your people. The problem with a lot of people, especially those who have never been to the north much less associated with the people, is they have no idea what they are doing and the bigger picture of who they are affecting when they support a cause or donate to a cause. They see what the media puts out for people to look at and they see what the wild life foundations use as advertising and public relations and they see what other people blog or invent websites for, but they don’t take the time or make the effort to actually look at the big picture. What they see is simple and life, is not simple. They do not realize how the loss of income will have an effect on the lives of Newfoundlanders as well who need this income which they have depended on for a long long time and neither will anyone be there to help them when that is gone. Meanwhile the same supporters and donators to these groups will sit at home and eat a steak or have dinner at McD’s without realizing what horrific lives their own food had before it lavishly was laid on the table before them. There is much more the stopping of the seal hunt will change but I want to end with this final paragraph…….
      I challenge Ellen, who I also like and respect and I believe she has a good heart and an honest heart, to put on her sealskin and go to you at your Inuit home and actually see and meet and understand you and your people. There is nothing more valuable than real life experience and the knowledge that comes with it. Should make for an interesting show as well.
      Hang in there Alethea…. Ajunngigiarlutit

    19. Keith Catton says:

      You are beautiful, Im sure your sealskin coat keeps you warm, warmer then any coat made from petroleum products, (nylon, polyester), materials that pollute the waters in their harvesting and production, a form of “hunting” indeed.
      I have been a vegetarian for over 15 years, but now see that the shipping of so called cruelty free items is not cruelty free at all, when the lifestyle uses so much gasoline.
      I think the “developed” world should learn a thing or two from you, and consider what real environmental harm is, and who is committing it.
      Thank you for the best selfie, “sealfie”.

    20. I am from Ontario originally, but I moved here to Inuvik 3 years ago to Volunteer in a school for 10 months…I am still volunteering and I am actively involved in the Out on the Land program, I support the First Nations and Aboriginal way of life and have embraced it…I am listening to your interview on the radio just now. The outside world is very ignorant to the way of life in the North, the cost of living and the effect on a traditional People. Will do my best to share on my FB page.

    21. Wavy says:

      Dear, Alethea/Aggiuq,

      Today, you are my hero. I love and respect the native peoples of the Great Canadian North, their ancient, mystical traditions, customs and culture. I wonder would @TheEllenShow have the audacity to publicly critisize and condemne the Native American people’s hunting of the buffalo all those years ago? No, no- that stuff gets celebrated by and makes Hollywood too much money. Way too risky for one’s career to go that far! The hypocrisy is droll and embarrassing, to see humans so willingly ignorant. Worst of all, Ellen sincerely feels like she’s taking a stand for something, making “a difference”. It’s pathetic.

      Alethea, I wish you much success with your film project and I will always help spread the TRUTH about the seal hunt; it is a respectful, humane way to harvest a crucial, plentiful, readily-available, important resource. I challenge you to find a slaughtered animal more fully-completely* utilized than the seal (*an “easter-egg” for any Canadian’s reading this). The meat (vital food source), the bones (sled-dog’s dinner ie. “fuel”; and as much an important artist’s medium as a painter’s palette), the hide (clothes, blankets, etc.). Even the eyeballs (a delicacy). Nothing goes to waste. It is ALL important and purposeful.


      Keep on rocking in the free world!


      St. John’s, Newfoundland (it’s pronouced “New-fun-LAAAND”), Canada

      March 26, 2013

      P.S. It’s very stormy here tonight! 30+cms snow and 140km/h winds! I’m glad I got to finish writing this before the power goes out (and I’m prett-y sure it will sometime tonight).


      • silver fox says:

        cidiots like ellen will probably never understand your culture and traditions .this is a renewable resource .managed well and regulated.nothing warmer than real fur.let her wear her plastic.in your environs see who is warmer.just because she maybe educated does not rule out ignorance.1.5 million?maybe donate it to the native community . quite sure they will use it wisely.to mr samsung have one of your phones next time i purchase one you will not be on my A list.another bored “star” give me a break.lookin for a cause OK…get a real life go out in the real world!!

    22. Pingback: I support sealing. Sorry. | knitty little secret

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