Makah Whaling aff brag lab ndi 2014



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Makah Whaling AFF---BRAG LAB---NDI 2014

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‘Our opponents would have us abandon this [whaling] part of our culture and restrict it to a museum. To us this means a dead culture. We are trying to maintain a living culture. We can only hope that those whose opposition is most vicious will be able to recognize their ethnocentrism – subordinating our culture to theirs’ – the Makah Tribal Council.

In response to the whale hunt in 1999,


The Makah received heaps of hate mail, harassments in restaurants and on ferries, and even death threats. Internet forums regularly carried vehement anti-Makah or anti-Indian postings, equating the Indians with drunken welfare cheats. Local and regional newspapers (for instance the Peninsula Daily News, the Seattle Times, the¶ Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and radio and TV stations were deluged with letters, phone calls, e-mails and faxes generally opposing the hunt. There was talk of theMakah’s vicious, sick behavior’, the ‘senseless massacre of a beautiful, peaceful creature’, the ‘cold-blooded murder of a magnificent, gentle and trusting animal’, barbaric activity,¶ ‘carnage’, ‘horrible ordeal’, ‘a thoroughly arcane and disgusting tradition’ or simply ‘evil’. Someone referred to the ‘Makah whale killing atrocities’.31 Many messages were laced with hateful, ethnocentric or racist remarks (Erikson 1999:560). A man wanted to apply for ‘a license to kill Indians’ so that he could restore his forefathers’ tradition¶ (ibid.:563). The discourse had turned ugly. Bumper stickers with the slogan ‘Save a Whale, Kill an Indian’ became popular. One protestor carried a banner reading ‘Save¶ a Whale, Harpoon a Makah!’ Whilst under siege of anti-whalers, a Makah carried a¶ sign with the text ‘Go Home Eco-Colonialists.’ Responding to the commotion after the¶ successful hunt, tribal council Chairman Ben Johnson said: ‘We recognize that because of differences in cultural values and knowledge many people do not understand our need to continue with the tradition of whale hunting, thus creating a conflict between them and the Makah.’32¶ In the wake of the environmental and animal rights groups’ opinion, many remarks were made as regards the validity of reviving tradition, especially in the days following the successful hunt. Some dismissed it as ‘pure bunk,’ others made deriding comparisons.¶ Someone said that ‘any culture that regains its pride by killing is, at best, primitive’.33¶ Another wrote: ‘These peoples want to rekindle their traditional way of life by killing an animal that has twice the mental capacity they have. These idiots need to use what little brains they have to do something productive besides getting drunk and spending federal funds to live on’ (quoted in Erikson 1999:563). In a letter to the editor of theSeattle Times,¶ a woman declared: ‘The white man used to kill Indians and give them smallpox-infected blankets. Is this a tradition we should return to?’34 In the same newspaper, a couple stated¶ ‘Natives were often referred to as “savages,” and it seems little has changed’ (quoted in¶ Dougherty 2001). ‘What does it matter if tradition is killing indigenous people in the name of white culture or killing whales in the name of Makah culture? The mind-set is the same, only the victims differ,’ wrote a woman to the Peninsula Daily News.¶ 35 A¶ reader of the Seattle Post-Intelligencersent a letter to the editor, reading: ‘The excuse¶ of “tradition” does not justify this act. Not all “traditions” are appropriate behavior. It is¶ sad that a once proud group of people have lost so much heritage, pride and self-respect¶ that they actually believe killing an intelligent, warm-blooded creature will some how¶ make them more “Indian.”’36 Another reader volunteered the following: ‘If the Makah¶ tribe wants to embrace their traditions, they should: give up welfare, (they got whale¶ blubber – who needs money?); give up modern medicine (they got a tribal medicine¶ man – forget the antibiotics and let him cure their tribe with chants!) and by all means,¶ cut off their electricity and running water. Traditionally, they did not have these luxuries [sic]. Also, take those Nikes off those Makah kids and put them back in their traditional¶ moccassins [sic]!’37 ‘Many traditions become antiquated, irresponsible and outright¶ wrong,’ a woman submitted.38 On radio talk shows, statements like ‘white people should renew their tradition of killing Indians’ could be heard.39 Examples of traditions¶ that should not be revitalized abounded, including cannibalism, human sacrifice, widow¶ burning, foot binding, genital mutilation, head hunting and scalping. A typical example¶ is from a letter to the editor of theSeattle Post-Intelligencer, stating: ‘Indeed, an authentic¶ cultural revival would require the resurrection of inter-tribal warfare, slavery and the¶ occasional human sacrifice. So why do they insist on whaling, but not launching a return¶ to these other practices that also defined them as a people? ::: It’s no wonder the Makah¶ still feel justified in considering whales their property to sacrifice as they once did their¶ slaves.’40
Rob van Ginkel, University of Amsterdam, “The Makah Whale Hunt and Leviathan’s Death: Reinventing Tradition and Disputing Authenticity in the Age of Modernity” //RJ



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