The ringed seal (Phoca hispida; natsiq) has long been recognized as one of the central resource features of Inuit ecological adaptation. Traditionally, this species has provided critical food, fuel, and raw materials for Inuit. Moreover, since the 1960s, natsiq have also afforded Canadian Inuit access to the monetary resources needed for contemporary ecological activities.
This paper focuses on the cash-subsistence role of seals in the Inuit community of Clyde River, Baffin Island. It is argued that the sale of sealskins, as a byproduct of food production, offers an Inuit the means of "capturing" money that is consistent with the customary social and economic goals of the subsistence economy and complements more traditional subsistence inputs. It is also suggested that this adaptation is presently jeopardized by animal rights opposition to Inuit sealing.