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Makah Grandmothers March arrives in PDX Sunday 10/5

Makah Grandmothers are walking from Neah Bay Washington to Arizona to bring awareness to issues that are impacting them and generations to come. Please come to Holiday Park (in front of Lloyd Center) to greet them as they arrive in Portland. As things stand now they are hoping to arrive about 4:00 p.m. There will be more info posted as it is available.
Below is an article written for the Port Angeles newspaper.........

PORT ANGELES The grandmothers want their grandchildren to know when they see injustice, when someone tries to keep them quiet, they must speak out.

And if that doesn't work, walk out.

Which is what the three grandmothers, Makah tribal members from Neah Bay, did at 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Dotti Chamblin, Gail Adams and Rhonda Markishtum, whose ages total 181 years, began a 330-mile trek to Portland, Ore., with a walk into the early morning fog over the Makah Reservation.

They arrived in Port Angeles shortly before noon Wednesday and went to U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks' office at 322 E. Fifth St. to deliver a letter.

Dicks, the Democrat from Belfair who represents the 6th Congressional District, sits on the Appropriation subcommittee for the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The grandmothers' letter four pages, single-spaced and containing their phone numbers calls for better health care for Native Americans and better care for the land and waters that sustain them.

Treaty rights-
The letter also decries what the grandmothers believe are ongoing violations of Native American treaty rights.

Tribes in the 19th century signed pacts trading their lands for basic human rights, including hunting and fishing in designated places.

Such treaties are protected by the Constitution, Chamblin said, yet too many times over the decades, they have not been honored.

Among the treaty violations, the grandmothers believe, is the case of the five Makah men who hunted and killed a gray whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Sept. 7, 2007.

The five were charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a federal offense.

Three of the men pleaded guilty and are serving five years of probation; one was sentenced to 90 days in the federal detention facility in SeaTac while another was sentenced to five months there.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz, Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES The grandmothers want their grandchildren to know when they see injustice, when someone tries to keep them quiet, they must speak out.

And if that doesn't work, walk out.

Which is what the three grandmothers, Makah tribal members from Neah Bay, did at 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Dotti Chamblin, Gail Adams and Rhonda Markishtum, whose ages total 181 years, began a 330-mile trek to Portland, Ore., with a walk into the early morning fog over the Makah Reservation.

They arrived in Port Angeles shortly before noon Wednesday and went to U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks' office at 322 E. Fifth St. to deliver a letter.

Dicks, the Democrat from Belfair who represents the 6th Congressional District, sits on the Appropriation subcommittee for the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The grandmothers' letter four pages, single-spaced and containing their phone numbers calls for better health care for Native Americans and better care for the land and waters that sustain them.

Treaty rights
The letter also decries what the grandmothers believe are ongoing violations of Native American treaty rights.

Tribes in the 19th century signed pacts trading their lands for basic human rights, including hunting and fishing in designated places.

Such treaties are protected by the Constitution, Chamblin said, yet too many times over the decades, they have not been honored.

Among the treaty violations, the grandmothers believe, is the case of the five Makah men who hunted and killed a gray whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Sept. 7, 2007.

The five were charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a federal offense.

Three of the men pleaded guilty and are serving five years of probation; one was sentenced to 90 days in the federal detention facility in SeaTac while another was sentenced to five months there.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz, Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES The grandmothers want their grandchildren to know when they see injustice, when someone tries to keep them quiet, they must speak out.

And if that doesn't work, walk out.

Which is what the three grandmothers, Makah tribal members from Neah Bay, did at 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Dotti Chamblin, Gail Adams and Rhonda Markishtum, whose ages total 181 years, began a 330-mile trek to Portland, Ore., with a walk into the early morning fog over the Makah Reservation.

They arrived in Port Angeles shortly before noon Wednesday and went to U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks' office at 322 E. Fifth St. to deliver a letter.

Dicks, the Democrat from Belfair who represents the 6th Congressional District, sits on the Appropriation subcommittee for the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The grandmothers' letter four pages, single-spaced and containing their phone numbers calls for better health care for Native Americans and better care for the land and waters that sustain them.

Treaty rights
The letter also decries what the grandmothers believe are ongoing violations of Native American treaty rights.

Tribes in the 19th century signed pacts trading their lands for basic human rights, including hunting and fishing in designated places.

Such treaties are protected by the Constitution, Chamblin said, yet too many times over the decades, they have not been honored.

Among the treaty violations, the grandmothers believe, is the case of the five Makah men who hunted and killed a gray whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Sept. 7, 2007.

The five were charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a federal offense.

Three of the men pleaded guilty and are serving five years of probation; one was sentenced to 90 days in the federal detention facility in SeaTac while another was sentenced to five months there.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz, Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES The grandmothers want their grandchildren to know when they see injustice, when someone tries to keep them quiet, they must speak out.

And if that doesn't work, walk out.

Which is what the three grandmothers, Makah tribal members from Neah Bay, did at 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Dotti Chamblin, Gail Adams and Rhonda Markishtum, whose ages total 181 years, began a 330-mile trek to Portland, Ore., with a walk into the early morning fog over the Makah Reservation.

They arrived in Port Angeles shortly before noon Wednesday and went to U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks' office at 322 E. Fifth St. to deliver a letter.

Dicks, the Democrat from Belfair who represents the 6th Congressional District, sits on the Appropriation subcommittee for the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The grandmothers' letter four pages, single-spaced and containing their phone numbers calls for better health care for Native Americans and better care for the land and waters that sustain them.

Treaty rights
The letter also decries what the grandmothers believe are ongoing violations of Native American treaty rights.

Tribes in the 19th century signed pacts trading their lands for basic human rights, including hunting and fishing in designated places.

Such treaties are protected by the Constitution, Chamblin said, yet too many times over the decades, they have not been honored.

Among the treaty violations, the grandmothers believe, is the case of the five Makah men who hunted and killed a gray whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Sept. 7, 2007.

The five were charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a federal offense.

Three of the men pleaded guilty and are serving five years of probation; one was sentenced to 90 days in the federal detention facility in SeaTac while another was sentenced to five months there.

But the Grandmother's message is larger than the waling case.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz, Peninsula Daily News
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you wish to make a contribution to this march in any way
you can, they will appreciate it greatly.

The Grandmothers
P.O. Box 597, Makah Indian Reservation,
Neah Bay Washington, 98357

phone: phone: 503-341-4228


Change of plans 05.Oct.2008 10:44

justicelies

Due to weather the grandmothers will not be at Holiday Park this afternoon. They will be at the Federal Bldg. and BIA office tomorrow. There will be specific info posted as it is available.

On Saving Whales 05.Oct.2008 17:55

Baleine

Killing the last of the whales in Neah Bay is, in my view, a crime against nature. I could never support, or pretend to support, in any way, a person who could do such a thing. I am sad that I am being asked to, on Portland Indymedia.

This case is sad because it pits various competing interests against each other in a manner which is very hard to reconcile.

The Indigenous Peoples of Cascadia do, in fact, have treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather on their ancestral lands. And these rights, like so many that were reserved by their ancestors, have often been violated. So I think that I understand why the Makah people resent being told by non-Native laws that they should not be out there killing the whales. I can certainly understand why Native people do not want to be told what to do by white people.

However, there is a group out there who has been even more oppressed than the Makah, whose voices have not been heard in this debate. They are the whales. They were relentlessly hunted to the brink of extinction by the very methods now being employed by the Makah themselves. Although most of us remain blind to this fact, the non-human animals around us are living beings, every bit as deserving of our respect and regard as other humans. The whales of Neah bay can think, and feel, and they love their lives every bit as much as you and I love ours. Is it right for us to trade their lives for the requests of the Makah grandmothers? Some will say it might be. But I respectfully disagree.

I want to see the whales saved and protected. I do not support anyone racing out in a speed boat and blowing away a trusting, feeling being with rifles. I do not want to see the whales suffer as their lives bleed away into the water, their bodies filled with holes. This is what happened to the whale who was murdered by the men these grandmothers are asking us to support. And this, I feel with all my heart, is wrong.

I have heard from people who took part in a past Makah whale hunt that the meat is not even good. It is greasy and oily, and gives people the shits for days afterward. Most of it goes to waste. Why, then? Why take these lives? Is it to make a point? Can there be no other way to make that point than taking the lives of others?

I do empathize with these grandmothers in their quest for sovereignty, dignity, and respect for their people. And if they were asking me to support them over any issue that did not involve the murder of other thinking, feeling beings, then I would. But I cannot support them in this.

Can you support this? 05.Oct.2008 17:57

Witness

Here is a description of the hunt in question that appeared in the News Tribune a few days after the killing:

According to reports, the Makahs harpooned and shot the whale early in the morning. They seem to have been poor aims. One witness - a man fishing nearby - said he counted 21 gunshots. Neither those bullets, nor multiple harpoons they drove into the whale, killed it quickly.

The Coast Guard followed the wounded whale as it attempted to escape to the Pacific Ocean. The whalers had tethered floats to the harpoons to help track it. The floats finally stopped moving in the evening; the animal was declared dead at 7:15 p.m. - approximately 12 hours after it was harpooned.

got eco-imperialism? 05.Oct.2008 23:35

...

So say the people from the culture that caused the problem in the first place. How about instead of blaming a people who had everything stolen from them by your government, you side with them and help dismantle the culture that continually ensures that there will never be an entirely sustainable population of whales for them to hunt (or salmon... or forest... or bears... or any of the multitude of non-human people this culture chews up and spits out to make room for it's cancerous growth).

On a legal note:

The Makah Nation have their right to hunt whales specifically spelled out in their peace treaty with the United States government. Article 4. If the United States does not wish to abide by the treaty then they should give back the land ceded in Article 1 of the same. Basically, the entire NW portion of the Olympic Peninsula and all resources held within.

Eco-Imperialism? Or speciesism. 06.Oct.2008 06:57

I say the latter.

That you could even suggest that killing whales would be all right if it were a "sustainable population" tells me that you simply don't see other living beings for who they are.

Yes, obviously, indigenous people have gotten the shaft from white imperialists. No question. And yes, ask me to support the right of indigenous people to take back their own land. But do NOT ask me to support the right of five humans to torture a whale to death. Ever.

What if you were asking me to support the right of some population of people to hunt some other population of humans? I mean, if that other population were "sustainable"? It would not sound right, would it? Then why are you asking me to ignore the fact that whales are living beings who do not owe their lives to humans? ANY humans, indigenous or otherwise???

'Focus' on the whales. 06.Oct.2008 19:37

whale defender/lover

Put the focus where it needs to be. . .on the whales. See yourself reflected in their eyes and sense the oneness.

Hunting and killing whales is wrong and I believe deep down we all know this to be true. The time has come for us all to evolve beyond this. Whales have every right to live, breathe, swim and be free in the ocean. Respect their lives.

*The following quote from this website >>>  http://www.naturetrek.co.uk/wildlife-holidays-in-americas/detailsdb.asp?ID=156 "Grey whales are naturally inquisitive creatures. They seem to genuinely revel in human contact. There can be few more memorable wildlife experiences than being able to look one of these gentle creatures straight in the eye as it raises its head out of the water next to the boat. A truly moving moment."

~ Peace
Respect
Respect
Their
Their
Lives
Lives

... 06.Oct.2008 22:51

....

"That you could even suggest that killing whales would be all right if it were a "sustainable population" tells me that you simply don't see other living beings for who they are."

Of course someone who comes from a techno-industrial culture would think that the Makah have that sort of relationship with non-human people because that is the sort of relationship that is common (and expected) amongst the dominant culture. The concept of the long standing relationship that the Makah have with the whale is utterly foreign to those who come from techno-industrial culture. The concept of being part of the animal world (and therefore the land base) goes against it's basic tenets (humans are not animals, dominion over life, take your pick).

To those who actually have a culture (or remnant of one) that has actually sustained them and their landbase, this relation ship is common and the rules are pretty clear. If you consume the flesh of another, you take responsibility for the continuation of its community. If you hunt whale (or buffalo or salmon or wapiti...), their continued survival is your responsibility. You take what you need to sustain yourself and no more and you protect that which gives you life.

Since the Makah and other indigenous people have actually lived here for a few thousand years without totally screwing the place up (a task we've notably accomplished in about 150 years), my suggestion for you would be to quit with the paternalistic "white father knows best" and start listening to those who's culture has actually sustained them and their environment for since the beginning of time.

Always remember. It was this culture that almost drove whales to extinction for nothing more than lamp oil and stuff so the wealthy can make purfumes (or even worse, for nothing, ie the Navy sonor issue). It was this civilization that have almost drove salmon almost to extinction in Cascadia. It *is* this civilization that continually does its best to destroy, control, corrupt and extinct non-human people (or human people it sees as non-human). I'd say that people from a civilization that does things like that don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to telling the Makah anything about how to live.

Too simplified 07.Oct.2008 14:46

/

.... said: "You take what you need to sustain yourself and no more and you protect that which gives you life."

It would be wonderful if this really were the way any of us lived. But your statement obscures a simple fact: This is not what is happening to the whales of Neah Bay.

The whales of Neah Bay are being used as political pawns in a human game. I hate to blow your image here, but humans are humans. Almost all of us suck. Reliably. There is no Eden left. If you've actually been up to Neah Bay and spoken to the people who want to kill the whales, as I have been, you will learn that no one up there really needs whale meat for survival. To a man, every single person I spoke with on this subject said the meat is really pretty gross. And although I make room for the possibility that there were people up there who really might have needed that meat, no one I spoke with said that. Everyone, without exception, said (in one way or another) that the killing of whales was important to their people for political reasons, not for survival.

It's not sustainability that is being fought over here. You are trying to make it that, but it's not.

What is being fought over here is, on the Makah side, tribal rights. On the whale side, what is being fought for is their very lives. It is sad and sickening to me that we are all put into a situation where we must decide between, on one hand, the rights of an indigenous people to their sovereignty and treaty rights, and on the other side, the very lives of beings who do not deserve to die as political pawns. I do not believe that any of us want to choose between these two opposing interests. And yet, here we are.

We may want to talk about how we got here, or what we could do to get out of it. We may want to acknowledge the importance of Native treaty rights, and we may also want to acknowledge the right of the whales to live without being tortured to death, as this whale clearly was. But let's not try to simplify this down to a romanticized allegory about Native people living in harmony with nature and prayerfully killing whales in a sustainable and harmonious manner. This is NOT what this is.

The killing of the whale in question, by all accounts, was unimaginably cruel. This whale was not harpooned with hand-carved wood and ivory flung by Native hands from a wooden canoe. This whale was not killed respectfully nor in accordance with any recorded tradition. It was chased down in a power boat, shot dozens of times with high-powered weaponry, and suffered and bled to death over the course of 12 freaking hours. And, if members of the Makah tribe who were present during past whaling are to be believed, the meat was not even necessary. Much of it would be wasted. In other words, the killing of this whale echoes, all too closely, the killing of virtually all of the animals who die at human hands.

While one may acknowledge that the Makah people have, by treaty, the legal right to kill whales like this one, that does not necessarily make such killing right. It was humans who created those laws. The whales had no say. The Makah people have been oppressed by white people. This is true. But the whales have been oppressed also, and by all people.

I would love to see some other solution to this problem, whereby the Makah people could assert their treaty rights, that did not involve the killing of whales. I do not know what this solution would look like, and it would be up to the Makah to find a solution that worked for them. (Perhaps they could trade the right to kill whales for some other asset? Land, or other forms of wealth?) Obviously, we can't ignore the history around US violations of treaty rights, nor can I say I don't understand why the Makah would be tempted to use the killing of whales to make a political statement. But I can't say it's right to lay human laws onto the whales, and ask them to suffer and bleed for us. They've already done that enough. And I don't accept that we must remain silent on this issue, since we are talking about an indigenous people wanting to do the killing. On the contrary, I think those who believe that killing whales is wrong have the same moral obligation to fight against whaling that they would have in any other situation. I can hear people already, reminding me that there are "so many other battles" to fight, involving animals murdered by so many other cultures. This is true. But it does not erase the suffering and pain that this whale went through, and it seems odd to me that I would be asked to support this killing here. For those of us who are actively fighting to stop cruelty and killing of animals on every front, including within the dominant culture, I do not believe there is any hypocrisy in speaking out against the killing of the whales in Neah Bay. I think that comments that imply otherwise, like the comments equating this killing to some romanticized ideal of Native harmony, are also trying to over-simplify this issue.

If the voices speaking out here were *only* concerned with the Makah hunting whales, then I would agree that it's a little hypocritical. But let's face it. The people on this site, for the most part, are the people who are out there fighting against factory farming, against fur shops, against vivisection, and against all manner of heinous cruelty perpetrated by humans upon non-human animals. I do not see any hypocrisy in speaking out against this killing too. It was, after all, a very cruel act.