An Ancient Bond with the Land

Arctic Whalers

Captains and Crews

Thule whaling communities were likely organized around whaling captains, known as umialit (literally "umiaq owners"). Membership in a whaling crew was based on extended family ties. In areas where whaling was particularly good, there could have been half a dozen whaling crews in a village of 50 or more winter houses.

In prosperous areas, whaling captains were community leaders. In areas where whales were few, villages tended to be smaller and poorer, with a less hierarchical social structure.

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