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The missionary taught the Eskimo they couldn't fish with nets on Sundays, not realizing there were other ways to fish, but it was adhered to strictly, often wasting 2 days

November 9, 1908


My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 6

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Biblical Fundamentalism

It seems that in Kotzebue Sound the fishing is chiefly done with nets. The missionary, in teaching his flock to keep the Sabbath holy, has prohibited the use of nets on Sunday, saying nothing about other methods of fishing, for he found no others in use. The news of this prohibition spread not only northwest along the coast to Point Hope and thence to Point Barrow , but also northeast up the Kuvuk and Noatak rivers and across the mountains to the Colville, where we were trying to lay up a winter store of fish, chiefly by netting but also by the use of the hook, which we found a less productive as well as a more laborious method. When the commandment reached us it appeared in the form : “God has said, you shall not use fish nets on Sunday" (the implication being, of course, that if you did you would be liable to eternal damnation). Being good Christians and anxious to do nothing which could possibly endanger their eternal welfare, the Colville River natives accordingly pulled their fish nets out of the water on Saturday night, fished with hooks all day Sunday, and put their nets back on Monday morning.