Point Hope


Young Inupiaq captains provide food for their community Text by Molly Maqpee Lane, Images by Nathaniel Wilder Time stands still when you catch a bowhead whale. Meetings are canceled, work is forgotten about, chores go undone, the kids don’t go to school, and sleep is out of the question.  The only focus is on harvesting the giant mammal. Sometimes it can take hours, sometimes it takes days to put away. It’s such a joyous time that it doesn’t feel like work. Thomas Edison once said, “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” That is what whaling is all about. I am from Point Hope, Alaska. It is the oldest continuously inhabited region in North America. We have always been an Inupiaq subsistence community. Thanksgiving of 2022, my in-laws Jacob and Della Lane Jr. passed down their whaling crew to my husband, Jacob Lane III,…