Tundra Swans Ulu Landscape Pendant
Sustain my people,
I depend on your return,
The rhythm of migratory animals has driven the engine of native peoples’ subsistence life as far back as it is possible to go. Birds return in early spring and summer–vast, wheeling clouds of them, caribou follow ancient trails, fish pulse up rivers and coastlines, seals follow the fish, and men follow the seals. Each returning species marks an ancient calendar, announcing to everyone what it is time to do.
The habitat of wetlands, tundra, forests and rivers that provide shelter and sustenance for these animals are part of the habitat of the peoples that depend on them. Hunting and gathering in these wild lands is as much a spiritual practice as it is a practical one. The two cannot be separated.
Here the wetlands scene is embossed and chased into the blade of an ulu knife, the handle mirroring the landscape image.
–Joan Tenenbaum, 2011.