In 1999 something went on in the Olympic peninsula in Washington state, that just frosted my cookies. It has to do with the Makah Tribe’s attempt to re-establish themselves as a cultural entity. Specifically, their recent and now fruitful, attempts at whale hunting. A brief history, two years ago the tribe petitioned the International Whaling Commission for the privilege of hunting whales in the traditional manner of their ancestors. The commission granted their petition and the United States acquiesced. Since then, they have been paddling their cedar canoes getting in shape for the hunt.

The thing that has happened almost since the beginning is a group under the heading of Sea Shepherd has been getting in their way. This hypocritical bunch of liberals have been trying to save a whale. Now I’m not sure but I wouldn’t doubt that they are the same group who spent thousands of dollars fighting the fishing industry trying to keep dolphins and porpoises out of tuna cans.

All of this, on the surface, appears quite laudable; but consider the tons of salmon that perished in the same nets and no one said diddley. You see where I not only become outraged, but am justified in calling these people hypocrites. They exercise great effort to save a cute cuddly mammal from a sad end and yet make no effort to stop or even name the real outrage. The decimation of the west coast salmon population. This abuse of that fishery is akin to the near extermination of the buffalo. If you don't think so, just look at all of the recent listings of salmon on the endangered species list. These listings have happened in just the last few years. And have to do with the same miles long drift nets that are killing dolphins. But again, do you think that anyone has said anything about this destruction. No not at all, they are still too worried about a cute "intelligent" mammal being killed. Nevermind that this is the way the Makah have made their living! and sustained their culture for millenniums. It has only to do with trying to force an artificial set of rules on a people who have had their lives constantly up ended by the white population; who are trying to do what they believe is right.

The problem is that what is right to them is just the "white" way they were brought up. It has little to do with real life, Since most, if not all, were probably raised in a white middle class home and except for a few years when they "lived on the street", have no knowledge of being part of the under-class that is Native America. Or even in fact what it is like to be poor and to have no hope for some way to maintain their family. It is best if these poor little rich kids went home and left life to those who must live it.

Michael Sherer


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