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Friday, May 27, 2005

Cultural Wars

The Makah Indians, several years ago, received permission from the courts and the Interior department to resume the hunting of gray whales. A firestorm of controversy erupted pitting environmentalists and animal rights advocates who deplored the “slaughter” of these mammals, and the supporters of those who wanted to preserve a unique culture. The pro-whale group even resorted to threats of violence. One member of the Whaling Commission returned home to discover 25 messages on her answering machine, each consisting of only the sound of a gun being fired.

Robert Sullivan traveled to Neah Bay to go on the hunt with the Makah and he chronicles the obstacles faced by the Indians caught between warring camps in a book called Whale Hunt. It’s a great read that raises many questions.
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