As I mentioned earlier about the seal skins being used, we use them for clothing. They are one of the warmest clothing especially living in a harsh cold environment. Kamiks(boots) are really useful for hunting and are made waterproof. I see people use them more often today in the communities. People up here use jackets, pants for hunting, mitts, and hats during winter because it keeps you much more warmer than the ones that are store bought. They are a lot lighter at that. People who are in the north, not just Inuit but other people uses seal skin as clothing today.

Living in an isolated place in the northern part of Canada , everything is really expensive. Even when people have jobs, cost of living is extremely high. Prices are ridiculous and most places in the north don't have a lot of jobs available. Seal skins are used to sell to get extra money to support families. Not only to families but to hunters too to get food and gas to go out hunting. Believe it or not a can of pop costs up to 4 dollars, chocolate bar 2.50 and chips 2 dollars. 4 bags of groceries in south would cost 60-80 dollars while same groceries bought in the north would cost up to 200 dollars. When we have these, it helps to sell seal skins to provide for our families. This is our daily life living up in the north. High cost for everything.

I have never personally seen white people seal hunting in the south as we call it. Although I have seen a lot of them on the internet and it's far different from how Inuit hunt for seal. They catch too many of the seals and makes it look easier than it looks. From growing up and as a hunter I have never seen a lot of seals caught like that the way people in the south do. When we're lucky, 3 seals in a day would be a lot to us and would go out some other time.

With the EU trying to ban seal skin pelts, even though Inuit exemption it will definitely have a big affect towards our selling of the pelts. Because of the ban in the past back in 1983 Inuit experienced hard times with the entire seal pelt market. Inuit exemption is just an idea towards banning but in reality seal pelt is a seal pelt whether it's from Inuit or industries. So that put Inuit to nothing when it comes to bans. It's really hard to let people know whether it's from Inuit themselves. This has allowed us to earn more income and help feed our families.

Through my experience as a hunter, family man, and living in an isolated place, seals will always be important part of our lives. That is how much important seal use is to us. If the EU bans, our source of income will be a lot harder for us. It will repeat the history of 1983 ban even with Inuit exemption and will make things harder for our people and our hunters. I thought it would help and make better understanding about our (Inuit) side of the story to the people who don't know or heard about our way of life. Believe it or not, whether if it's banned or not, Inuit will still go out hunting to keep our tradition alive and to feed our family.

Thank you for reading my letter, sincerely
Leonard Okkumaluk
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