Celebrating National Seal Products Day 2024

Alassua Hanson and Annie Qimirpik throat singing at National Seal Products Day, 2024. 

On May 28, 2024, our Executive Director, Jennifer Wicks, was honoured to attend a reception on Parliament Hill celebrating National Seal Products Day. National Seal Products Day is recognized annually during the month of May to promote Canadian seal products and highlight the importance of the seal harvest.

Inuit and coastal communities across Nunavut, Atlantic Canada, and Quebec rely on seal and seal products for subsistence and survival and have done so for millennia. These communities have developed highly skilled ways of turning sealskin into clothing, accessories, and more. To read about Jennifer’s participation in National Seal Products Day in 2023 and learn more about seal harvest sustainability and sealskin crafts’ cultural significance, please read last year’s blog

Sealskin products for sale, by Taalrumiq (Tuktoyaktuk, NWT). https://proudlyindigenouscrafts.com/artist/taalrumiq-christina-king/ 

This year, the Honourable Greg Fergus, Speaker of the House of Commons, alongside MPs Yvonne Jones, Marilene Gill, and Lori Idlout, hosted the National Seal Products Day gathering. A highlight was Alassua Hanson and Annie Qimirpik’s throat singing performance — a reminder of Indigenous communities’ deep cultural ties with sustainable seal harvest. 

Conversations at the event underscored the urgency and importance of the advocacy for Canadian seal products. The recently released Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans report, “Sealing the Future: A Call to Action,” highlighted the need to dispel persistent myths surrounding seal products and reveal the sustainability of well-managed commercial harvests. The industry faces major challenges due to longstanding international bans on seal products, often fuelled by misinformation from various animal welfare groups. These bans have severely impacted the livelihoods of remote, coastal, and Indigenous communities. The Senate’s report calls for a robust domestic and international campaign to promote Canadian seal products and combat the misleading narratives tarnishing the industry’s reputation.

“For too long, anti-sealing groups have controlled the narrative about Canada’s seal harvest with incendiary language and misleading information. We cannot allow this to persist without consequences: tax dollars should not be used to bring a historically and culturally important industry to its knees.”

– Senator Colin Deacon, Member of the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans

This event served as a powerful catalyst, urging the recognition of the seal harvest’s value, debunking the misconceptions surrounding it, and securing the enduring presence of sealskin craft in Canada’s cultural and economic fabric. With renewed determination, we eagerly anticipate next year’s event.