Makah whaling stop the hunt
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Makah Whaling: stop the hunt. Rebecca Johnson, Colton Picket, Kelsea Holloway. Outline. Background Legal Context Cultural Arguments. Biology/Ecology of Grey Whale. ,, 1. Ozette digsite.

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Makah Whaling: stop the hunt

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Makah whaling stop the hunt

Makah Whaling: stop the hunt

Rebecca Johnson, Colton Picket,

Kelsea Holloway



  • Background

  • Legal Context

  • Cultural Arguments

Biology ecology of grey whale

Biology/Ecology of Grey Whale,

Makah whaling stop the hunt,

Makah whaling stop the hunt

1. Ozettedigsite

Makah whaling stop the hunt

Makah Whaling Timeline,,

Makah whaling stop the hunt

Makah whaling stop the hunt,,

Makah whaling stop the hunt,

Main points of contention

Main points of contention

Treaty of 1855

Treaty of 1855

  • Makah people were guaranteed… “the right of taking fish and of whaling or sealing at usual and accustomed grounds and stations.”

  • Ceded most of their land and moved to a reservation

Treaty of Neah Bay, 1855

Makah whaling stop the hunt

  • Makah stopped whaling in 1920’s

  • Grey whale placed on Endangered Species List (1972)

  • De-listed in 1994; population near original levels

Cantzler 2007

Petition in 1995

Petition in 1995

  • Ask for permission to hunt again

  • Approved by Congress

  • Tribe promised:

    • Only subsistence

    • Used within tribe

    • Cultural/religious practice

  • Request approved 1996

  • Took a whale in 1999


Courts halt the hunt

Courts Halt the Hunt

  • Planned a hunt for 2000

  • Metcalf vs. Daley

    • 9th Circuit Court of Appeals – ruled in violation of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

  • EA filed too late

  • Environmental impact not properly considered

No. 98-36135, 2000

Makah challenge the decision

Makah Challenge the Decision

  • 2002 – IWC grants a second five-year quota

  • 2004 – 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Makah must comply with MMPA

  • 2005 – Makah submitted waiver

  • 2008 – NOAA submits EIS

    • Awaiting decision

NOAA 2005

Makah whaling stop the hunt

  • Sets precedent that all that’s needed is cultural heritage

    • Not just subsistence

    • Japan, Norway, and Iceland could make same claim

“None of us have even tasted a whale or know how to prepare it or cut it. They lied and said we were starving. “

Alberta Thompson, Makah Tribal Member, 72 years old

Hogan 1996, Petersen 1996

Where do the whales stand

Where do the whales stand?

  • Western North Pacific gray whale population still critically endangered

    • Population not recovering

  • Eastern population makes for good study system

    • Would also be where other nations aimed effort

    • Could be affected by climate change and high pollution

    • Salt factory could be built next to birthing grounds in Mexico

IUCN 2008, Garza 1999




  • Tools: Dugout canoes, sealskin floats, harpoons, lances

  • Historical Uses: Whale oil, meat, bones, potlatch, trade



Present Day

  • Tools today: harpoon, .577-calibre elephant gun

  • Modern Use: Whale oil, meat, tools, potlatch

  • More humane today, but does that take away from the cultural aspect?

Why makah quit whaling

Why Makah Quit Whaling

  • Grey whales on brink of extinction

  • A decline in the societal demand for whale oil

  • Social and economic dislocation of the tribe

  • Opposition by federal authorities

Reasons for returning the hunt

Reasons for Returning the Hunt

  • Claims

    • Has led to Alcoholism, crime, and drug use

  • Whaling will bring back “pride and discipline” (Van Ginkel 2004)

  • Uses of the whale



  • Only certain members of the tribe are allowed in the hunt

    • Many tribal members are not even directly related to whaling cheifs and have little to gain personally(Dougherty 2001).

  • Many tribal elders do not see a need for the hunt, as it is a thing of the past

    • "We think the word `subsistence' is the wrong thing to say when our people haven't used or had whale meat/blubber since the early 1900s . . . (Petersen 1996)

Other options

Other Options

  • Mock-whaling

    • “This simulated whaling would satisfy cultural and social tribal traditions, while also distinguishing the renewed Makah bond with the whale as a unique environmental and ceremonial tradition.”(Petersen 1996)

  • Museums

  • Whale watching

    • “…might the federal government pay the tribes not to whale in the same way they subsidize farmers not to plant crops? Whale watching along the West coast is a $100 million yearly business.” (Petersen 1996)

Makah whaling stop the hunt

“Our treaty rights will stand whether we go whaling or not”(Petersen 1996).

Works cited

Works Cited

Cantzler J. Environmental Justice and Social Power Rhetoric in the Moral Battle over Whaling.Sociological Inquiry. August 2007;77(3):483-512. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 30, 2011.

Dougherty, j. 2001 Resurrection. SF Weekly, July 11, 2001.

Garza, A. 1999. Plan for Baja Salt Factory Provokes Whale Worries. LA Times.

Macdonald, D. (2001) The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 

No. 98-36135, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. June 9, 2000.

NOAA Fisheries. Chronology of Events Related to the Makah Tribal Whale Hunt. 2005.

Petersen, Brenda. 1996. Who Will Speak For The Whales? -- Elders Call For A Spiritual Dialogue On Makah Tribe's Whaling Proposal. The Seattle Times. Available from

Renker, A. The Makah Tribe: People of the Sea and the Forest. University of Washington. University libraries. Available from

Rugh, D. J., R.C. Hobbs, J.A. Lerczak and J.M. Breiwick. 2005. Estimates of abundance of the eastern North Pacific stock of gray whales (Eschrichtiusrobustus) 1997-2002. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. 7: 1-12

Schmidt, Sarah. 1999. The One That Got Away. Saturday Night 114: 76

Treaty of Neah Bay of 1855. Explore North. Available from (Accessed 10/30/11).

Van Ginkel, Rob. 2004. The Makah Whale Hunt and Leviathan's Death: Reinventing Tradition and Disputing Authenticity in the Age of Modernity. Etnofloor 17: 58-89. Jones, M.L. and Swartz, S.L. (2002) Gray whale. In: Perrin, W.F., Würsig, B. and Thewissen, J.G.M. (Eds) Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. Academic Press, London.

9 Colo. J. Int'l Envtl. L. & Pol'y 71 (1998) Makah Whaling: Aboriginal Subsistence or a Stepping Stone to Undermining the Commercial Whaling Moratorium; Jenkins, Leesteffy; Romanzo, Cara

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