It's in Our Treaty: the Right to Whale

Authors: Brown, Jovana J.

Disciplines: Environmental Studies, History, Native American Studies

Themes: Activism, Cultural Preservation, Self Determination and Self Governance, Treaty Rights and Sovereignty

Tribes: Makah

The Makah people have lived on the northwest part of the Olympic Peninsula for thousands of years and utilized the bounty of the seas. Their historical tradition of whaling can be traced back at least 1,500 years. When they signed the Treaty of Neah Bay in 1855 the Makah reserved the right to hunt whales. The Makah Nation resumed this whaling tradition in 1999 by harvesting a gray whale. Since this successful hunt the Tribe has had to continue to confront and overcome many involved legal and political obstacles to continue hunting whales. This case details the Makah's continuing efforts to resume whaling.