Archive for June, 2017

Krill and Killer whales

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

I share stories about Antarctic krill with Aboriginal artist Paul Davis, whose great grandfather was a whaler at Eden (south of Sydney). Paul refers to this account of relationships between his people and the Orcas (killer whales):

For an unknown number of generations, the Yuin people of twofold bay benefitted from the natural hunting strategies of the local Killer whales. The various tribes who inhabited the bay integrated the orcas into their belief systems as the orcas would regularly herd migrating baleen whales into the bay and the whales would commonly strand themselves on beaches to escape the killers. As a result, the yuin people believed that the orcas were deliberately provding food for the tribes and that the killers were the re-incarnated spirits of tribal members. Early european explorers documented rituals where the yuins would “call” the orcas to drive whales to shore. Whale oil played a part in tribal rituals up and down the east coast and the yuins had a fascinating use for a rotting carcase. They would climb naked into the rotting flesh and remain encased for hours with only their head protruding. The heat of decomposition and putrid smelling oils were claimed to cure rheumatism and other maladies.

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