What happens when somebody other than a Native American wants to do or kill something in the name of tradition? Do we legalize opium for the Chinese? Legalize persecuting the Irish for people of British ancestry? Legalize human sacrifice for descendants of Mesoamerica? Can we name more offensive racial clichés?
"What happens when somebody other than a Native American wants to do or kill something in the name of tradition?" Well, let's break this down into two parts. One, there's doing or killing something that doesn't harm another human being. Two, there's doing or killing something that does harm another human being.
Guess what? If it involves harming another human being, it's illegal. So that immediately rules out unlawful persecution and human sacrifice. Duh.
What if an action doesn't harm another human being? Then our society's presumption is that it should be legal. The government shouldn't interfere unless it has a compelling reason to do so.
Drugs are a prime example. There's a mountain of evidence that the so-called war on drugs has failed. So why not legalize or at least decriminalize them? Why not make it legal for the Chinese and everyone else to use opium if it doesn't harm another human being?
Let's return to the initial question: What happens when somebody other than a Native American wants to do or kill something in the name of tradition? Well, let's see. The Amish don't have to obey a host of laws that violate their religious beliefs. Quakers can register as conscientious objectors rather than go to war. Sikhs can wear their turbans and beards in circumstances where others couldn't. Businesses must accommodate Jews and Muslims on their holidays. Non-believers don't have to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. Christian fundamentalists can opt out of reading "Satanic" books in school. Etc., etc., etc.
To make a long story short, our society tolerates all sorts of religious beliefs in the name of tradition. We work around them because we consider the First Amendment to the Constitution paramount. So why shouldn't we tolerate the Makah's religious beliefs also?
If it isn't obvious, I'm not arguing for whale-hunting here. I'm arguing against this pitiful example of "reasoning." Better luck next time, chump.
For more on the subject, see The Makah Whale-Hunt Controversy.