Opinion: Makah Nation has treaty right to hunt

"Why do people whale? Because, that is what their ancestors did. Whaling is their cultural identity. It makes them who they are.

Some people are cowboys. Some are fishermen. It is their heritage and that is reason enough for them.

So why the uproar over the Makah's whale hunt?

We are a society where meat comes wrapped in plastic. Based on its appearance on the grocer's shelf, consumers would never know the meat we eat was alive.

We all have sympathies for animals, yet they are important for our survival, whether we eat them or we benefit from their existence in other ways. None of us want animals to suffer needlessly.

I spoke with some people from the Makah tribe and learned that the whalers struggled to euthanize the whale with a rifle. Whaling is a skill that demands practice.

During the arrest of the Makah tribal members by the Coast Guard, the whale was lost.

Will the Makah be allowed to whale again? Can the Makah re-establish a lost connection with their heritage?

I hope so."

Get the Story:
Mike Iyall: Right of Makah tribe to whale backed by their treaty (The Olympian 10/5)

Relevant Documents:
Tribal Council Statement | Makah Tribal Whale Hunt | Marine Mammal Protection Act

Court Decisions:
Anderson v. Evans (June 7, 2004) | Anderson v. Evans (December 20, 2002)

Relevant Links:
Makah Nation - http://www.makah.com

Related Stories:
Federal probe into Makah whale hunt ongoing (09/18)
Editorial: Makah Nation must punish rogue hunters (9/14)
Letters: Readers discuss illegal Makah whale hunt (9/14)
Makah leaders hopeful after Washington meetings (9/13)
Column: Makah Nation shouldn't hunt whales (9/13)
Makah Nation hires former Slade Gorton aide (9/12)
Editorial: Illegal hunt may be last for Makah Nation (9/12)
Unauthorized hunt likely to delay action on permit (9/11)
Editorial: Makah Nation reacts swiftly to rogue hunt (9/11)
Editorial: Illegal whale hunters must be punished (9/11)
Makah Nation blasts unauthorized whale hunt (9/10)
Makah Nation to discuss rogue hunt on Capitol Hill (9/10)
Russian Natives, Makah Nation share culture, whales (10/25)
Appeals court shoots down Makah whaling case (06/08)
Makah Nation marks fifth year since first whale hunt (05/17)
Tribes and U.S. seek review of whale hunt ruling (03/14)
Opinion: Makah Nation whale hunt is not legal (02/12)
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