fyi, for the past two weeks a running battle has taken place between the Makah
Native American Tribe, the US Coast Guard ordered to protect them and pro whale
defenders, resulting in a hospitalized protester and many demonstrations and
confrontations. A judicial ruling a few days ago reversed the ruling that
allowed the Makah to hunt whales in violation of the International Whaling
Commission. Here is the latest info: enjoy , cheers, country joe mcdonald
For further information and several web sites related to this issue visit my
home page at <http://www.countryjoe.com>
Dan Spomer wrote:
> ===== A message from the 'makahwhaling' discussion list =====
> FROM WASHINGTON CITIZEN'S COASTAL ALLIANCE
> Sekiu, WA: 10:25am PDT
> We are pleased to bring you the results of the investigation launched by
> Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a 600,000 member, private,
> non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to educating Americans about
> the waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in the federal government.
> It is our opinion that the following article may be one of the most
> important ever generated on the Makah whaling issue, and we encourage you to
> contact CAGW to thank them for their involvement! (www.cagw.org) Be SURE to
> contact your congressional representatives with this information and DEMAND
> they halt any further hunting NOW! Further information is available at
> As taxpayers, you will be less than amused with what you are about to
> HARPOONING A FISHY TRADITION
> By Kerrie N. Rezac
> (June, 2000 'WasteWatcher,' CAGW's official newsletter)
> Whether you are Tevye, the lead in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, or a
> member of an American Indian tribe trying to resurrect a long forgotten
> hunting custom, you have to know that some traditions just arent worth
> keeping. Especially if they cost the taxpayers $5 million.
> While cutting back on normal operations (such as ticketing drunken boaters
> and arresting drug smugglers) due to increasing oil prices, the Coast Guard
> is spending $11,550 an hour to help the Makah Indian Tribe of Washington
> resurrect a tradition. Ironically, Coast Guard spokesman John ODell has
> remarked, If it is not a life-threatening situation, we have to ask how
> much involvement from the Coast Guard there should be. Apparently the
> rules change if the Clinton-Gore administration wants something.
> In Neah Bay, Wash., the federal government has doled out almost $5 million
> to help the Makah Indian Tribe resurrect the tradition of hunting gray
> whales. But the Makah hunt is not a tradition at all. Unlike 21st century
> Makah, earlier Makah did not wear Nikes and Adidas and use automatic rifles
> on their hunts. The early tribesmen certainly did not get government
> funding for their hunting. Their sense of pride came from having conducted
> the hunt themselves.
> The current situation no doubt has the Makahs ancestors rolling in their
> burial mounds. The federal government spent $200,000 just to obtain
> permission for the hunt from the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
> Uncle Sam also spent $735,000 to show members of the tribe how to kill and
> eat their prey. And then there are the Coast Guard escorts who watched the
> hunters do cannonballs off the sides of their canoe for three hours. All
> in order to restore a sense of culture in the tribes children.
> After the gray whale was taken off the Endangered Species List in 1994, the
> Makah requested the governments assistance in resurrecting their
> tradition. The tribe made their appeal under an 1855 treaty in which the
> U.S. government agreed not to interfere with Makah tradition. So far, no
> one has stopped to consider whether a federal handout is, by its very
> definition, government interference and a violation of the 145-year-old
> Further, the Makah accepted the wampum despite the fact that the tribe had
> voluntarily given up whaling early in the 20th century and, in the 1970s, a
> tribal council decided against resurrecting the whaling tradition. Many of
> the tribes elders (including one woman who was fired from her job after she
> spoke out against whaling) still believe the hunt is unnecessary.
> In order to kill the whales legally, the Makah first had to gain permission
> from the IWC. And so a federal spending spree began (despite the fact that
> 43 congressmen signed a petition against sanctioning the hunt). The tribe
> received $200,000 for 15 tribesmen and their lawyer to attend the 1997 IWC
> conference in Monaco. The IWC limits whaling rights to cultures that
> depend on the whale for subsistence or that have a long, unbroken whaling
> tradition. The Makah needed to convince the IWC that they fell into one of
> these categories.
> The Makah and their lawyers failed in this endeavor. The Oct. 23, 1997, IWC
> decision, which supposedly allows the Makah tribe to kill four whales per
> year, never mentions the tribe by name. The IWC decision not to sanction
> the Makah hunt makes sense, since the tribe does not depend on the whale for
> subsistence and their cultural tradition was voluntarily abandoned twice.
> But the intrepid Makah whalers had no need to worry the pale faces in
> Washington would cook up a deal.
> The government struck a understanding, outside formal IWC discussions, with
> Russian and American aboriginal tribes. (The tribes practices have long
> been sanctioned by the IWC because the whale is the main source of food and
> income for these tribes.) In a deal with these tribes, the Makah were given
> 4 of the 120 whales that the tribes are allotted annually by the IWC. It is
> this agreement, and not the language of the IWC decision, that gives the
> Makah the permission for their hunt.
> Spending on the Makah did not stop after the pow-wow in Morocco. The
> government also gave the Makah:
> $300,000 for a grant to prepare for the hunt, because the tribe had given
> up whaling almost a century earlier and there was no one left in the tribe
> who actually knew how to hunt whales;
> $435,000 for a grant to teach the tribe how to eat the whale meat;
> $335,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the
> National Marine Fisheries Service to ensure that domestic and international
> whaling laws are followed (although it appears that the government has
> already skirted around the IWC law);
> $87,000 directly from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the hunt; and
> $13,910 from the U.S. Marshalls Office for Operation Harpoon.
> Nor did the federal governments spending spree cease when the Makah entered
> the water, even though almost $1 million had already been spent. The
> federal and local governments also dipped into taxpayers pockets to make
> sure the Makah were not disturbed by protesters. Therefore:
> $751,295 was spent for the National Guard and FBI to monitor anti-whalers at
> the 1998 Makah Days celebration (not one anti-whaler showed up, so the
> federal delegation watched ceremonial dances);
> Approximately $50,000, including a $10,000 grant from the federal
> government, was used by the Clallam County Sheriff to prepare for the
> whaling events and the phantom anti-whalers;
> $924,000 was used for Coast Guard escorts for the spring 2000 hunt at
> $11,550 per hour (the fall 1998 and spring and fall 1999 hunts were also
> provided Coast Guard escorts; and
> $44,800 was spent on legal fees during Metcalf v. Daley, which questioned
> the environmental impact of the hunt.
> While the government was being so generous with taxpayers dollars, two
> Clallam County Prison workers, who also happen to be Makah Indians, were
> arrested for using prison equipment to make whaling tools. One female
> protester was run over on her jet ski while the Coast Guard was patrolling
> the waters with the Makah.
> The tribe, whose members do not pay taxes, is having a whale of a time with
> federal tax dollars. They have hired a Beltway-based public relations firm
> to help with the tribes image. It shouldnt be difficult for the Makah
> to find the means to pay for these services since the government has already
> given them millions. The tribe spent $100,000 of their government funds for
> a potlatch party to celebrate their 1999 catch. Who would throw a $100,000
> party for less than 70 people? The same people who would spend $640 on a
> toilet seat: the federal government.
> As Tevye learned in Fiddler on the Roof, traditions disappear. But in this
> particular case, it is our tax dollars that are disappearing far faster
> than any whaling tradition of the Makah.
-- "Ira Furor Brevis Est " - Anger is a brief madness
country joe Home Pg <http://www.countryjoe.com>
country joe's tribute to Florence Nightingale
Berkeley Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Rag Baby Online Magazine <http://www.ragbaby.com/magazine>
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jun 19 2000 - 05:16:13 CUT