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Makah, Protestors Gear Up For Whale Hunt

Sam Eaton
04/13/2000

MAKAH INDIAN WHALERS AT NEAH BAY ARE ONCE AGAIN GEARING UP FOR A WHALE HUNT… AND ONCE AGAIN WHALING OPPONENTS ARE TRYING TO BRING WORLDWIDE MEDIA ATTENTION TO THE EVENT. AS SAM EATON REPORTS, NOBODY WANTS A REPEAT OF LAST YEAR.

THE ANTI-WHALING ORGANIZATION, SEA DEFENSE ALLIANCE HAS ALREADY POSITIONED ITS BOAT IN NEAH BAY, NEAR THE MAKAH INDIAN RESERVATION. THE GROUP’S FOUNDER, JONATHAN PAUL SPECULATES THAT THE TRIBE COULD START HUNTING AS SOON AS NEXT WEEK. The bulls have come through and the females and calves are now starting to trickle through and then what happens is there’s a large clump of them that come through and that’s when they want to go out and hunt. IN PREPARATION, SEA DEFENSE ALLIANCE IS SENDING OUT PRESS RELEASES THAT DEFINE THE GROUP AS A ‘MILITANT’ ORGANIZATION AND PLAY UP THE ARRESTS OF SEVERAL OF IT’S MEMBERS DURING LAST YEAR’S PROTEST. WHILE PAUL WOULDN’T REVEAL ANY OF THE GROUP’S TACTICS OR STRATEGIES FOR THIS YEAR, HE DID SAY THEY AREN’T AFRAID OF BEING ARRESTED. PAUL SAYS HE DOESN’T CONSIDER LAST YEAR’S PROTEST A FAILURE, BUT HE SAYS THIS YEAR THEY HOPE TO PREVENT THE KILLING OF ANY WHALES, REGARDLESS OF THE COSTS. We do what we have to do, we feel we have to defend these beautiful creatures from being killed. BUT THESE RETURNING PROTESTORS AREN’T EXACTLY BEING WELCOMED IN NEAH BAY. SO FAR A GROUP OF ABOUT 30-ACTIVISTS SHUT DOWN A ROAD TO THE RESERVATION FOR ABOUT AN HOUR EARLIER THIS MONTH. AND NOW WITH THE EARLY PRESENCE OF PROTEST BOATS, TRIBAL MEMBERS ARE WEARY OF THE WORLDWIDE ATTENTION. AMY HUNTER, WHO MARRIED INTO THE TRIBE AND WORKS AT THE TRIBAL SMOKE SHOP IS AMONG THEM. SHE SAYS SHE DOESN’T WANT ANOTHER MEDIA SPECTACLE. Basically the feeling I get from everyone here is that they just want to be able to do the hunt and nobody’s sensationalizing it or the media coming out here and making a big deal out of it. Just hunt, have a whale, and you guys do your thing and we’ll do ours. HUNTER DECLINED TO SAY ANYTHING MORE ABOUT TRIBAL WHALING. ACTIVISTS SAY THEY WILL STAY IN NEAH BAY UNTIL A HUNT OR UNTIL THE END OF THE GRAY WHALE MIGRATION IN JUNE. SAM EATON, KUOW, 94.9, PUBLIC RADIO.

09.25.18

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