Column: Racism and ignorance in Makah Nation hunting debate

A gray whale in Neah Bay in Washington. Photo from Makah Nation

The Makah Nation of Washington wants to resume its treaty-protected whale hunt but not everyone is happy with the tribe's traditions:
With the Makah Indian whale hunt back in the news this past week, also back is the flood of advice for the tribe.

The lecturing, finger-wagging advice.

“The tribe’s culture should evolve,” read a letter that ran in this newspaper. “Honoring whales through arts and storytelling is fine; sinking harpoons or bullets into protected marine mammals … is not.”

That was one of the nicer ones. Sort of a pat on the head compared to the typical comments posted online: “Wake up in your teepee, put on your buffalo skin, paddle out in your canoe and stick it with a wooden harpoon,” said one. “Until then, spare us the ‘spiritual existence’ nonsense.”

“Where in tribal heritage do casinos fit?” asked another.

“What is ceremonial about a 50-cal elephant gun, motor boats, winches, pickup trucks, chain saws and freezers?” read another.

Get the Story:
Danny Westneat Whale-hunt scolds are off target (The Seattle Times 3/14)

Related Stories
Makah Nation committed to resumption of treaty whale hunts (3/6)
New environmental study being drafted on Makah Tribe whaling (05/23)

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