September 12, 2007

More opinions on the Makah

Hunting for trouble in the path of whalesThe hunt was apparently as spontaneous as it was colossally dumb. Without the knowledge or approval of tribal leaders or tribal whaling authorities, five men harpooned and then blasted away at a whale, mortally wounding the aquatic mammal, which died and sank below hundreds of feet of water 12 hours later.

With Saturday's hunt, the tribe shot a large-bore hole in its own foot and lobbying efforts. There was nothing traditional about last weekend's hunt, but it may be the last for a long, long time.
"What type of culture needs a machine gun to kill a defenseless animal?"A "slap on the hand" or monetary fine is not an adequate punishment. What the Makah Nation should realize is that people like me will think only of this incident whenever their name comes up in the future.

Mary Jo Meyers-Barnes, Woodinville
So the Makah Tribe seeks its "right" to harvest whales for cultural purposes—in a ritual that makes as much sense in modern times as the Incas sacrificing children to the Corn God to ensure a plentiful harvest—and then slaughters a gray whale illegally with a machine gun? That's one proud tradition.

John Parker, Maple City, Mich.
Animal abuse is one of the first signs leading to further abuse. While I don't want to lump all of the Makah Tribe into one group based upon the behavior of five individuals, perhaps it's time to revisit the treaty that gave the Makah Tribe such rights.

Deborah Covington, Hagatna, Guam
What the treaty appears to say is that the Makah have exactly the same right to whaling as non-Native Americans do—no more, no less. And when was the last time non-Native Americans had the right to go out and kill whales, for either business or pleasure?

Jim Raftery, Meridian, Idaho
It is sad that a few individuals can create this kind of disaster. It will be an outrage if justice is not swiftly served.

Chris Johnson, Federal Way
Debate Grows Over Tribal Whale HuntsMakah tribal council chairman Ben Johnson says he wishes the five men who hunted and killed a gray whale hadn't defied the tribal and federal law but he that he understands why they did it.

“I think I understand their frustrations. We’ve been going through this for years,” said Johnson.
Comment:  Yep, it sure is frustrating that you can't shoot anything anytime with a high-powered rifle. These poor guys must've been going crazy itching their trigger fingers.

Apparently they didn't use a "machine gun" after all. But the answer to the title question--"What type of culture needs a machine gun to kill a defenseless animal?"--is a Westernized culture that values individual success and gratification over communal rights and responsibilities. In other words, a typical American culture.

It's the same mentality that led the white man to hunt the buffalo and Indians alike to near-extinction. It's the "shoot first and ask questions later" attitude you see in everything from yesterday's Western movies to today's superhero comics. It's the reason we invaded Iraq without thinking about what we were doing: because we could.


Anonymous said...

If you research more you will find that in the 1999 Whale hunt, the Tribe wanted to go full thrust with the traditional way but the IWC and Feds told them hey need to take a high powered .50 caliber rifle (NOT MACHINE GUN)to be used after the harpoons so the whale will die quicker and not suffer as long.

This last one they did NOT use a machine gun but used a .460 caliber rifle.

Anonymous said...

Igornance, Research a little. I am a makah and goddamn proud of it. For centuries we had hunted all sorts of sea life, and were well know to be the best at it. Up until the White's came and slaughtered about 90% of the entire native americans. If the whale hunts were to continue it would be great. And isn't this kinda of a much bigger deal This would KILL much more Whales than, Our tribe hunting.

A Proud makak!

Rob said...

Didn't I just say the hunters didn't use a machine gun? Yes, I did.

Okay, let's let the Makah use traditional canoes and harpoons to hunt a whale and then finish it off with a rifle. That's far from what these fellows did.

I said that I support whale-hunting within limits. I agree that dumping PCB-tainted soil into the bay is worse than killing a whale, environmentally speaking. But by the same token, killing a whale is presumably worse than not killing a whale. Who exactly benefited when the dead whale sank into the ocean?

Anonymous said...

Ok I was the one who posted yesterday at 5 pm. I don't condone what these guys did in anyway. It was really damaging to our credibility, But you gotta understand, It is all a bunch of Buracratic BS. We've been dealling with the courts on this for a while. My uncle Hubert was a huge part in dealing with the courts. When he passed, Alot of our chances went away.

I can tell you, I've dealt with a lot of rasism from people about this issue. You should have seen some of the signs people had at the protest of the first hunt back in '99. Signs like "Kill a Whale, Kill a makah" "Makah's are baby kilers" The rasism is endless. And most people just will never understand our right to hunt the whale. The statment "It's an Indian thing you wouldn't understand" is very true.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Strangely, writerfella has been visited by phone and internet by pals and acquaintances who also were protesting the makah whale incident. What writerfella told them is this (which gave them much pause): the death of one whale somehow has been magnified far beyond its true significance, whereas the deaths of thousands of whales at the hands of Japanese whale harvesting ships mostly goes without such protests. It is true that the whale populations in Pacific and Antarctican waters have been devastated, with little either said or done. Is this in reality a double standard, or even a triple standard?
All Best
Russ bates