Harvesting Koani - IQ Day Feb 2011

I spent half a day last week learning about the harvesting of seaweed through holes chopped into the sea ice on a dropping tide. It was really fascinating - I had heard of it before but never experienced it.

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit - Inuit Traditional Knowledge. It is typical for workplaces to honor the knowledge critical to Inuit culture and survival by having an IQ day once or twice a year, during which staff and often their families practice some sort of skill or tradition together. This could be mitten making, cleaning seal skins, ice fishing or anything related. Last week my office had our IQ day by going out onto the sea ice to collect koani - a type of seaweed.

In brief - holes are chopped into the sea ice in a tidal zone known for having seaweed. There is a lot of skill and knowledge used to select where and how to chop. The water underneath is flowing out to sea and the current carries away the severed blocks of ice, keeping the hole clear. As the water level drops you are able to see seaweed at the bottom of the hole waving in the current. A modified stick is used for harvesting, with a knife and hook duct-taped to the end. There is a lot of skill involved in the harvesting. First you have to see the koani, and not mistake some other less delectable seaweed. Next, you lean in over the hole with the staff and use the knife to cut the seaweed away from the ground. Once it's free, capture it in the hook before it quickly floats away with the current! I mostly did the watching while the others did the work, and enjoyed the koani, caribou and seal stew - yum! Enjoy the pictures by clicking here: http://www.coldpaws.ca/svmanager/g18/



Great! and interesting! I will taste too! ;D