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Inuit land claims group to protest Ellen’s Oscar selfie

A seal hunter drags a harp seal back to his snowmobile during the annual seal hunt on a ice floe in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

A group that oversees Inuit land claims is organizing a giant photo op to counter the celebrity selfie taken by Ellen Degeneres at the Oscars last month.

Ms. Degeneres donated $1.5-million of the money raised by the star-studded picture to the Humane Society of the United States, an organization that fights seal hunting.

In response, Inuit across Nunavut have been using social media to post "sealfies" – pictures of themselves wearing sealskin clothes, standing beside freshly killed seals or looking forward to enjoying a tasty seal meal.

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The land claims group Nunavut Tunngavik (TOON'-gah-vihk) says it supports the movement and will operate a sealfie photo booth in its offices in Iqaluit this Thursday.

It is also organizing a giant sealfie in Iqaluit on Friday afternoon.

The land claims group says it wants to educate people about Nunavut's sustainable and humane seal harvest.

"This is another perfect example of people and organizations using their wealth and influence to spread further misinformation about our way of life. Their ignorance is appalling," Nunavut Tunngavik vice-president James Eetoolook said in a release.

"Seals in Canada are harvested humanely and to tell people otherwise is a complete lie."

During the Oscar broadcast on March 2, host, comedian and daytime TV star Ms. DeGeneres went into the audience and snapped a selfie that included luminaries such as Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep and Kevin Spacey. Smartphone manufacturer Samsung, which made the phone Ms. DeGeneres used, promised to donate a dollar to charity for every time the photo was retweeted.

The selfie almost immediately crashed Twitter and became the most widely retweeted photo ever.

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In statements on her website, Ms. DeGeneres, a vegan, calls the seal hunt "one of the most atrocious and inhumane acts against animals allowed by any government."

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