Subject: MAKAH related issues (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Tue, 6 Oct 1998 13:49:04 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 04:45:09 -0700
From: MARMAM Editors <marmamed@UVic.CA>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: MAKAH related issues (fwd)

Three messages related to the MAKAH hunt and cultural whaling have
been compiled below:

Newsclip - Recent update on the Makah Hunt
Will Anderson - History of the Makah Hunt
Newsclip - BC natives and cultutal whaling

-MARMAM editors

From: (Dagmar Fertl)
Subject: newsclip - Makah stay ashore on first day of whale hunting

     Makah, protesters stay ashore on first day of whale hunting season

     October 2, 1998
     NEAH BAY, Washington (CNN) --The Makah did not venture into rolling
     seas on the day they could start hunting their first gray whale in 70
     years, reviving their ancient tradition.
     Anti-whaling activists had vowed to disrupt the hunt, but the day
     passed without incident Thursday as the Makah tribe kept its harpoons
     in storage.
     Rain pelted Neah Bay for several hours Thursday afternoon, and the
     eight tribal whalers did not even practice in their 32-foot hand-hewn
     cedar canoe.
     Strong winds were expected to hit the coast again Friday.
     A diverse flotilla of protest ships waited offshore under the watchful
     eye of the U.S. Coast Guard.
     Following their ancestors, the Makah plan to paddle out and strike
     first with a harpoon. In a departure from tradition, they will use a
     .50-caliber rifle to kill the whale and motorized boats to tow it
     The whale "is going to come to us when it's time," said Makah Whaling
     Commission chair Keith Johnson. "We're not pressured."
     The planned tribal hunt has sparked an international outcry from
     animal rights groups and anti-whaling activists. Some
     environmentalists have vowed to disrupt the hunt, leading the Makah to
     closely guard their plans.
     The Makah, who have an 1855 treaty with the federal government
     specifically preserving their right to hunt whales, won approval from
     the International Whaling Commission nearly a year ago to kill up to
     five whales a year over the next four years.
     A federal judge last month upheld the tribe's plans to harpoon,
     dismissing objections from tour boat operators, environmentalists and
     Tribal leaders hope the hunt will revive cultural pride, identity, and
     connection to their roots.
     "It's bringing us together," said Johnson. "All of our songs and
     dances, everything in our culture has meaning directly related to the
     whale and the whale hunt."
     The 2,200-member tribe lives 120 miles from Seattle at the
     northwesternmost point of the continental United States. Their hunts
     ended 70 years ago as demand for whale oil brought the animals to the
     brink of extinction.
     Gray whales, which grow up to 50 feet and can weigh 40 tons, were
     placed on the first Endangered Species List in 1973. The population
     climbed back to about 22,000 and the whale was removed from the list
     in 1994, prompting the Makah to reassert whaling rights granted in the
     1855 treaty.
     Conservation groups argue that the Makah should refrain from whaling
     given that they no longer have a subsistence need for the meat and
     blubber as their ancestors did.
     The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society anchored its protest flagship in
     plain sight of the main reservation village of Neah Bay. Sea Shepherd
     founder Paul Watson said Pacific gray whales still deserve protection.
     "These guys are so gentle, it's like shooting a puppy dog," said
     Watson. "I don't see how there's any honor in that."
     The Makah is the only tribe whose 19th century treaty with the U.S.
     government specifically preserved the right to hunt whales.
     Watson and other whaling opponents fear a successful Makah hunt will
     open the door to other peoples and nations with whaling histories to
     resume hunting for "cultural" reasons, most notably Japan, Norway, and

From: Will Anderson <>

October 3, 1998
Makah Cultural Whaling
The Path To Commercial Whaling

The Makah tribe=92s bid to resurrect the killing of whales under the
authority of a one hundred forty-three year old treaty is a path for
both the Makah and other =93cultural=94 whalers to resume the slaughter of
whales around the globe. This is happening by design, not accident. This
is the path to commercial whaling.

The Administrative Process
=B7 The gray whale is removed from the endangered species list in 1994
upon the petition of the Makah tribe acting through the Northwest Indian
Fisheries Commission. Makah Fisheries Director David Sones said, =93It was
important to free up funding for new species that are endangered
(Peninsula Daily News, 6/16/94).=94
=B7 In May, 1995 the Makah tribe sent a letter to the United Sates
Department of Commerce requesting assistance in obtaining a quota of
gray whales from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The letter
specifically states that the Makah reserve the right to commercial
whaling. At this point, it should be noted that the ancestors of the
Makah were commercial whalers, trading whale products to both other
tribes and the European settlers in the region. Historically, the Makah
are on record as taking advantage of a passing steam-driven tug to tow
in four gray whales they had killed. Earlier, in the 1800=92s, many Makah
left whaling to pursue commercial sealing in the north Pacific. They
purchased the schooner Swan specifically for the purpose of going into
business as commercial sealers. When a treaty was signed between the US,
Russia and Japan to prohibit the unregulated killing of the depleted fur
seals, some Makah continued sealing, illegally, until courts forced them
to cease.=20
=B7 In 1996, the US revises its domestic regulations governing whaling by
aboriginal tribes to accommodate the Makah plans to kill whales. The US
quietly changes the previous criteria which determine who qualifies for
aboriginal quotas. Previous to the change, both cultural AND subsistence
needs had to be demonstrated. The revised regulations changed one word
by replacing =93and=94 with =93or.=94 The criteria now reads cultural OR
subsistence. This major policy shift opened the door to cultural whaling
in the US, and by example, around the world. It was done without an
environmental impact statement, hearings or public notice stating the
true impact.=20
=B7 At the 1996 IWC meeting in Scotland, the US delegation is forced to
withdraw its Makah quota request in the face of international
opposition. The Makah do not meet the IWC criteria which included both
cultural and subsistence justification.
=B7 In February of 1997, the World Council of Whalers (WCW) was
established by Makah relatives, the Nuu-chah-Nulth, on Vancouver Island,
Canada with twenty-percent of the startup funds coming from Japan and
Norway. The WCW represents twenty political nations; it is an alliance
of cultural whalers who are both aboriginal and non-aboriginal. Their
members include Japan, who for years has been attempting to get a
cultural whaling quota for four villages, Norway, and nations from
Scandinavia to the Caribbean. Their publicly stated purpose is to
support and engage in cultural commercial whaling. They each believe in
a right to kill whales for cultural purposes in the absence of
nutritional need. The WCW has company. A number of alliances, including
The High North Alliance and the North Atlantic Marine Mammal
Commission,  have the same general goals.
=B7 In October, 1997, the US by-passes the question of whether the Makah
qualify under IWC subsistence criteria by making a side-deal with Russia
to exchange bowhead whales from the US Inuit quota for a number of gray
whales from Russia=92s quota. The Makah request is never voted upon on a
stand-alone basis. Over a dozen countries object. The US declares the
Makah request was approved, despite the fact that the Russian quota was
for people =93whose cultural and subsistence needs have been recognized.=94
The US has now extended its domestic version to the international arena:
cultural whaling without nutritional subsistence need is now the new
standard. The Makah =93quota=94 is 20 gray whales killed or 33 wounded,
whichever comes first over a period of five years.
=B7 In preparation for the Makah hunt, the Coast Guard proposed a Rule
that excludes protesters and those wishing to document the killing from
coming within 500 yards of a Makah whaling vessel. The final Rule
maintained that exclusion zone despite hundreds of comment letters
opposing it and requesting public hearings. The Coast Guard waited to
release their Rule until October 1, 1998, the first day of the official
Makah whaling season. This, despite the fact that the Makah, who had
promised to not hunt the resident population of gray whales, were set to
hunt them anyway. The Coast Guard hurried the public comment period to
help the Makah hunt resident gray whales. Only resident gray whales are
in Washington in October and November. Even if they wait to kill in
December, the Makah will likely kill pregnant females who are the first
to migrate south from the high north Pacific.

The years-long orchestration of the Makah hunt and the creation of a new
category of whale killing, =93cultural whaling,=94 comes from the Office of
Environmental Quality, headed by Vice-President Al Gore, according to
Mother Jones magazine (October, 1998). The extra-ordinary effort by the
Clinton-Gore administration has many environmentalists worried that the
future will soon see the resumption of commercial whaling, initially by
cultural whalers. It would not be surprising to this writer to see the
Makah next seek to downlist the more-edible (and still on the endangered
species list) humpback whales which are recovering.=20

Additionally, recent efforts at CITES to put all protection authority in
the hands of the IWC, coupled with GATT/NAFTA trends that lessen, and
even remove, domestic authority for protecting species, may spell the
end of the era in which whales are protected from commercial whaling.
This formula threatens all wildlife

Will Anderson
Wildlife Advocate
The Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
Lynnwood, WA
From: WhaleSave <>
Subject: Whaling Editorial/Vancouver=20
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 08:20:16 -0700

Friday 2 October 1998  OPINION
Michael Smyth:
Listen to the people: No whaling
The Province

Michael Smyth The Province

 CP / It's time for Premier Glen Clark to tell his his negotiators that his
government will not ratify any treaty that allows whale hunting.

Province readers understandably reacted with anger and outrage this week
over the proposed whale hunt by Washington state natives.
Get ready to get even angrier, because B.C. natives are negotiating with
your provincial and federal governments to stage a similar slaughter off ou=
own coast.
The right to hunt whales is a key demand of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal
Council on Vancouver Island. They want that "right" enshrined in a treaty
with the province and Ottawa.
And with a final treaty expected to be signed some time next year, time is
running out on the politicians wavering in the face of political
"We want to protect our right to a whale hunt," Nuu-chah-nulth co-chief
Francis Frank told me yesterday.
"We want that protected in our treaty. It's a very simple statement."
Although the treaty negotiations are secret, sources say the whale-hunting
issue is contained in a framework document introduced at the bargaining
Your federal and provincial negotiators are frozen in their tracks. With th=
Nuu-chah-nulth claiming a "cultural and spiritual right" to kill whales,
they're afraid to speak up and say No.
Fortunately, British Columbians are doing the speaking for them: No whaling
in B.C.
It's time for Premier Glen Clark to send an unequivocal message to his
negotiators: That his government will not ratify any treaty that will allow
whale hunting in this province.
Clark has taken considerable heat for giving natives too much in the Nisga'=
Let's hope he takes the opportunity to show he can be firm and decisive whe=
aboriginal demands are clearly unacceptable.
Whale hunting is an abomination that went out the window a long time ago.
With all due respect to Frank, his claims to a cultural right to kill these
animals is empty rhetoric.
Do we tolerate cannibalism and human sacrifices by indigenous people who
practised such "spiritual" atrocities in the ancient past?
Of course not. Human sensibilities evolve. And the sins of the past should
be left in the past.
Besides, does anybody really believe this has anything to do with culture
and spirituality when whale meat sells in Japan for $30 a pound?
It's no coincidence that the head of the World Council of Whalers is a
Nuu-chah-nulth man and its head office is located on Vancouver Island.
The group's goal: A new, worldwide commercial whaling industry.
Don't let the blood money be spilled in our waters, Premier Clark.
Do the right thing -- and say No.

Messages for Michael Smyth: Voice mail: (604) 605-2004 E-mail:


Annelise Sorg
102 - 1365 West 4th Avenue,
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6H 3Y8
Tel: (604) 736-9514
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