Walruses play a very prominent role in many cultures, including Chukchi, Inuit, and Yupik peoples. They are a main source of food, oil, and tools. Walruses are hunted and, before the invention of modern technology, every part was used. The skins and intestines were used for rope and parkas. The blubber was used for oil, and the bones were used to make tools and weapons. Nowadays, however, walruses are merely used for their ivory tusks. Quite often, hunters will kill a walrus, cut off the tusks, then leave the rest of the carcass to waste. It's an embarassing example of how quickly humanity becomes complacant in the face of ease.

Walruses are in native religions, as well. An old Inuit tale describes a walrus-headed woman who rules the sea from the ocean floor. Many Alaskan native peoples believe that Aurora Borealis is caused by deceased souls playing ball with a walrus head. The legendary Beatles have a song titled "I am the Walrus", and a famous poem by Lewis Carroll called The Walrus and the Carpenter tells of a walrus and his friend tricking a couple of young oysters into following them to be devoured.


Walruses are very important to indiginous people.