Top seal derby harvester fetches $8,000 prize

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Kyle Anguttitauruq turned in a 42-inch ringed seal and took home the $8,000 top prize in Gjoa Haven’s annual Tuvaat Seal Derby held June 14-16.

Paul Puqiqnak watches for a seal while competing in the Tuvaat Seal Derby in Gjoa Haven earlier this month.
Abby Puqiqnak photo

Here are the other winners: second, Paulee Ikkutisluk, $4,000; third, Daniel Hiqiniq, $2,500; fourth, George Hikoalok, $1,500; fifth (tie), Maurice Tungilik and Ed Nuliayok, splitting $1,000; sixth, Solomon Angutingnuniq, $1,000; seventh, David Jayko, $900; eighth, Anthony Pauloosie, $800; ninth (tie), Dustin Atkichok and Paul Oogak, splitting $700; tenth, Jacob Takkiruq and Jacob Atkitchok, splitting $600.

Thomas Porter waits for a seal to pop up during the Gjoa Haven seal derby held June 14-16.
Abby Puqiqnak photo

There was an entry fee of $25 per household to participate in the event.

It was Annie Eleehetook’s third year organizing the derby and she said the participants numbered close to 200, making it the biggest one since she’s been in charge.

The name Tuvaat is Inuktitut for “group,” said Eleehetook, and it was chosen because it takes a combined effort to successfully harvest seals.

“They had fun with other families and took care of one another,” she said of the participants, who were out on the ocean ice even in rainy and windy weather. “The best part of the seal derby is communicating and family time. When you go down to seal hunt… you need a lot of people together because there’s so many holes. The seals tend to pop into different holes to breathe. You get a better chance of catching it when there’s a lot of people together.”