September 09, 2007

Makahs machine-gun whale

Gray whale shot, killed in rogue tribal huntFive Makah Nation members harpooned and shot a gray whale east of Neah Bay on Saturday morning, shocking environmentalists and tribal leaders alike. The whale died less than 12 hours later, sinking while heading out to sea.

The move short-circuited years of wrangling in the courts over whaling by the tribe, which hunted its first whale in 70 years in 1999.
The background:The hunt wasn't authorized by the tribal council or by the federal government.

"I don't know why they did this. It's terrible," said John McCarty who, as a former member of the tribe's whaling commission, has been an advocate of the Makah Nation's right to resume whaling under an 1855 treaty.

"I think the anti-whalers will be after us in full force, and we look ridiculous," McCarty said. "Like we can't manage our own people, we can't manage our own whale."

The hunt was starkly different from a federally sanctioned hunt in 1999 during which a whale was harpooned and then quickly killed with a large-caliber rifle. That was the tribe's first whale hunt in 70 years.


Jeff Capshew said...

Those stupid savages make me furious. They should stuff their idiotic, creepy blood lust and join the human race.

Rob said...

Well, using a machine gun isn't part of a traditional hunt, to be sure. It isn't very sporting, either.

But do you think anyone who butchers animals is suffering from bloodlust? How about anyone who eats butchered animals (e.g., cows, pigs, or chickens)? Are vegetarians the only real "humans," in your opinion?

Douglas2k6 said...

I just recently found your blog Rob, excellent post and blog. Don't mind jdcapshew, he seems very angry or jealous of Native Americans and a little ignorant as well.

As a Native American myself, this is sad news to hear. I'm pretty conflicted on how to think about the incident, but hopefully they can have the five men answer for why they did it.

The media though is going to have a field day with this, but if you want to point a finger at something, how about the hundreds of whales killed by the Japanese every year?

Douglas2k6 said...

Excuse me, the Japanese kill roughly 20-40 whales year. Sorry about the misprint!

Anonymous said...

Came across this:

Seems fairly interesting, and offers up an important comment regarding hunting for cultural reasons.

- Adnan

(normally I'd use Blogger, but forgot my username/password :P)

Anonymous said...

No "machinegun" involved, it was a .460 Weatherby rifle, an elephant gun.
Now that the media have their facts semi-straight.

Rob said...

Rob said...

I think the proper position on the Makah whaling controversy is to be conflicted. If you don't understand that both sides have legitimate arguments, you aren't trying.

I like the conclusion of the posting Adnan cited:

"There is middle ground to be had in this fight, but it requires the whales' advocates to acknowledge that the Makah treaty rights are the critical factor in this situation, as they are in the case of Inuit whale hunts as well (which seem not to draw the same kind of protest, mostly because those are true subsistence hunts). Those treaty rights are a real economic asset and not to be lightly dismissed.

"And it will require the tribes recognizing that they live in a big world in which the killing of a great sentient beast like a whale sharply conflicts with the values of their neighbors."

I'd say letting the tribe take a small number of whales--maybe just one a year--using only traditional boats and weapons would be a fair compromise. Do I hear a second?