Subject: Info:Tribe Sees Cure to Ills of Modernity in Whaling; Neah Bay, Washington State

Michael Williamson (williams)
Mon, 16 Sep 1995 16:03:52

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From: Michael Williamson <>
Subject: Info:Tribe Sees Cure to Ills of Modernity in Whaling; Neah Bay,
 Washington State
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  Tribe Sees Cure to Ills of Modernity in Whaling; Neah Bay, Washington
                              By TIMOTHY EGAN
Posted to MarMam by Spencer Lynn Texas A&M University Marine Mammal Research
 Program 4700 Avenue U, Bldg. 303 Galveston, TX 77551,
  - The children of this American Indian village at the far western edge of
the continent struggle with the usual demons of modern life - drugs, alcohol
   and violent videos among them. And like parents elsewhere, Makah tribal
members say that a return to old-fashioned values might be just the thing to
  bring their youth around. But in this case, tradition means going out in
  fierce Pacific Ocean swells to chase and kill gray whales, which have not
       been hunted legally in American waters for more than 40 years.
      Citing an 1855 treaty that makes them the only Indian nation with
  whale-hunting rights guaranteed by the Federal Government, the Makah have
announced plans to kill up to five whales every spring, beginning next year.
 A whale hunt, they say, would provide focus for a tribe where unemployment
     is running at 50 percent and the fishing fleet has been hit hard by
declining salmon runs. "Right now, there's a real frustration among the kids
with what's happened to fishing,'' said Andrea Alexander, general manager of
  the 1700-member tribe. "They thought they could grow up and be fishermen,
like their parents. With whaling, they would get to participate in something
 that has real cultural and spiritual value, and they could put food on the
                              table as well.''
 The Makah plan has caused an international stir, and it poses a problem for
  the State Department. For more than a decade, the American government has
  led the campaign to outlaw commercial whaling around the globe. But this
  week, at the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting in Dublin,
    the Americans have been on the spot from an Indian nation within its
borders. The Makah say there is a big distinction between their proposal and
   commercial whaling. The Indians want to take whales for subsistence and
  ceremonial purposes, not as part of a commercial operation. But opponents
 say that it smacks of hypocrisy to allow one group of people to hunt whales
 as an indigenous right, but to condemn others claiming the same right - as
                do those in Iceland and Norway, for example.
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