5 Makah whalers will face no jail time in plea agreement

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Nick Andrews, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. What a crock of shit! Treaty rights, shmeaty rights...that's pushing things way too far. Those 5 Makah tribal members who committed this foul deed are a bunch of ignorant, thoughtless criminals and shouldn't be allowed to skate. What a crock! They went against the tribe's policy, did a blundering job of killing the whale so that it suffered long and needlessly, outraged nearly everyone,..... and they only get probation!:mad::mad::mad:
  2. Why should we not be surprized?
  3. This isn't necessarily over for these guys. They are still subject to tribal prosecution. From the comments that I read at the time this hunt occurred, the leaders of the Makah tribe were not pleased to have their authority challenged and for the tribe to receive such negative publicity. If I remember, the Makah tribe has recently hired a judge for this case, but I wouldn't be surprised if this proceeds slowly.

    As I see it, the Feds have a real problem on their hands with this case. The tribe has a clear treaty right to hunt whales (confirmed by the International Whaling Commission in 1997), as do Inuit who hunt endangered bowhead whales. The first whale was killed by the Makah in 1999 after securing necessary permits. However, there have been a series of legal challenges since then and the whole issue was dropped back into the courts and NMFS where it has languished since then.

    At present time, the population of gray whales appears to have recovered to levels at or near those before exploitation by New England whalers in the 19th century (about 25,000 individuals). Eastern Pacific gray whales were almost driven to extinction until hunting was largely prohibited by the International Whaling Commission in 1949 (an Atlantic population was hunted to extinction).

    My understanding is that the dominant legal / conservation issue is whether there is a genetically-distinct population of gray whales that summers off the west coast of Vancouver Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca or if these whales are simply part of the larger population that summers in the Gulf of Alaska. If the former is true, the whales taken by the Makah tribe are likely to be from this local population and their take of 5 whales / year may exceed the ability of the population to sustain. This question should not be taking this long if the science were the only consideration.

  4. To what end would hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines actually teach anyone anything. It would only serve to alienate the factions even further. The punishment should fit the crime, and in my opinion the tribal elders should be handing down sentence. It is this peer pressure that will teach a lasting lesson. Maybe if we were to quit imposing our will, they would be more willing to listen. It is unlikely the Makah will ever take enough animals to pose a real threat. Japan and Norway are the 800 lbs gorillas here.
  5. I do not think the tribes will do much at all because they don't want the attention and the longer the process is drawn out the more people will forget about the whole thing.
  6. Well now that the deal fell apart things are a lot different, but there is no way they will serve a year in jail or pay $100,000 fine. I would think that if they did not take this deal then they will be heading to trial, but who knows.
  7. the last thing either the government or the tribes want is this to go to trial. this goes way beyonnd these people, it would serve to pull the covers back on whether or not the law of the land, which theoretically applies to all citizens, also covers native americans. to find the laws of the land exempt native americans would be stunning. to find the laws of the land trump treaties would be stunning.

    this is a loose-loose if it goes to court for those involved.

    the tribe already has stated that if these guys plead guilty in federal court the tribal charges would be dropped. looks like the ball is in the court of the perps, but i doubt they fully understand the ramifications of what could be next.
  8. It would seem from the news reports that the only way those charge will get a deal is if agree to restrict their future hunts, which those members, which by all accounts either side is willing to in on that requirement. GT, I think you are correct though that the Tribe has no intentions of even charging these guys. I was hoping this would set the stage for a examinations of the treaty rights and some possible revisions in our State. I just wonder when the tribes are going to realize that their practices are hurting the resource that they emphatically claim to cherish so dearly. Those these are the same people who claim that if they give in on the treaties then they lose parts of their heritage, yet they have no problem opening casino's on very reservation in North America. I believe that the United States did a terrible injustice to these people since the time we landed on this continent, so that needs to be taken into account. In the end though if the tribes wish to have these resources in the future then they too will need to make some concessions.
  9. This may have been the first "legal" killing of a whale but whales have fairly routinely taken and eaten by the tribe. During the early '90s I was stationed in Neah Bay and I personnally saw whales trapped and killed by gill nets intended for salmon. Whales were then towed to the shore and disemenated amongst the tribe. I was actively involved in the process including using a Coast Guard boat to tow the whale to the beach. The problem is that these nets were placed in known whale feeding habitat. Whether this was intentional I do not know. I do not wish to discredit the Makah Indians I truly loved the time I spent with them but as with all societies, a few discredit the many. And before you persecute the Coast Guard in assisting with this process I personally, along with another Coast Guardsman, entered the water and cut a net off of a whale, saving its life.
  10. As mentioned above, Japan and Norway kill lots and lots of whales. I don't see the problem in a group of Indians taking a whale every couple of years.:confused:
  11. One would have to measure the impacts on the whales being harvested, their numbers and health within the particular group being harvested, to know if there was any benefit or negative impacts on those particular whales due to the harvesting. Japan, Norway etc do not harvest the whales being targeted near Neah Bay and the surrounding area. I dont advocate whale harvest anywhere in the world. But let's not compare apples to pears. These are not the same whales. Biologically speaking, if the whale populations in the region are great enough, healthy enough, there may actually be a benefit to that group of whales as a whole to have some harvest on them. I would like to see the Makah Tribe be able to legally harvest whales for subsistence in a sustainable way, without being interfered with.
  12. Not me. i think its time we drag all those recalcitrant whale murderers into the 21st century, whether it be willingly by a chain to a nose ring, or kicking and screaming. Killing whales is one "cultural tradition" that i have absolutely no respect for, no matter who is doing it.
    Its long past time those Makahs, the Norwegians, Japanese, and all the other whale killers just stop the harvesting.
    Screw the Japanese, and Norwegians, etc, I am boycotting their products.
    As far as I'm concerned, the Makahs can 'count coup" on a whale if they need to hunt one down. That should be good enough in this enlightened age.
    Yeh, and I'm "politically incorrect" for saying this? Bullcrap!

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