Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Response To “Anonymous”

This is in response to the comment by ““ Anonymous” that there “MUST be no indigenous rights any longer“ and his/her attempt at a supporting argument. Please read this person’s comment made to the Makah whale hunt post first . As for my “whimpering“, I invite the writer to come stand in front of me and see just how much whimpering I am doing.

The writer’s position shows that many who oppose the gathering of marine mammals for sustenance have little or no knowledge of the various indigenous cultures. Using the argument given, it can also said that there should also be no rights for the white culture to exist at all. Who is really the dishonorable party? Who lied and broke treaties, who stole land, who spread diseases, who attempted in every way imaginable to completely destroy the indigenous population?

Using the same argument, does the city of Seattle really deserve to exist? The Strait of Juan de Fuca leads to Seattle, Tacoma and Cherry Point (a petroleum refinery), as well as Vancouver and Victoria, Canada. The biggest threat facing whales is collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear. Fatal ship strikes are increasing as the number of ships serving these ports increase. Pull down these cities, and other cities with a population that consumes the supplies transported by the ships, then there will be no ships to strike the whales. This is a rather outrageous suggestion and scenario, but no more outrageous than the one presented towards the Makah and other Native American peoples. Of course, an added bonus of ending the European occupation of the area would include the end of all the ills that are associated with the occupation - crime, pollution, destruction of wildlife habitat, and so forth

That the whale struck by Johnson was lost is unfortunate, but the loss of whales after striking is no different than the loss of any other game - deer, moose, caribou, mountain sheep, and fowl. During the period 2002-2006, 38 whales internationally were struck and lost. Not being there and knowing the exact circumstances, I doubt that few of us can make a valid comment on why the whale was lost or be able to present a valid condemnation. I can speak with my own experience of living 35 years in the arctic and sub-arctic and hunting with my in-laws, there are times when a marine mammal does sink before it can be salvaged. I can assure you that such things are not taken lightly and causes disconcert amongst the hunters.

Whales might be “intelligent, sensitive mammals who have done us no harm“, but what animal or bird used in the human food chain is not intelligent or sensitive to various extents? How many do us harm? There are even those who believe that plants have a degree of primitive intelligence and have “feelings”. Using this as a quotient for condemning the Makah whale hunt holds no water.

Before any activist starts raising the flag of holier than thou morality, perhaps they should first look at their own spiritual self - or lack of. Indigenous peoples are tied spiritually to the animals that they hunt. This spirituality drives everything from the preparation for the hunt to the final deposition of the animal. The rites and ceremonies before, during, and after the hunt have sustained the Makah for over 2,000 years and cannot be swept aside by those who lack the spirituality to understand such things.

The Makah whale hunt contributes to a healthy lifestyle for the people and increases pride in being a Makah. The Makah are still reeling under the repression, disruption, and eradication of their entire cultural and social institution caused by the U.S. government and European interlopers. The activist organizations aligned against the hunt are a continuation of past wrongs. The ability of the Makah to resume their hunting will contribute to the decrease of substance abuse, teenage pregnancies, an increasing juvenile crime rate, high school drop out rates, and other ills faced by the Tribe.

Let me address one other important aspect of the whale hunt that few understand. The American Indian people are generally considered to be one the unhealthiest populations living within the United States. Diabetes, for example, is 234% more prevalent among American Indian people than in all other U.S. ethnic groups. To take this further, American Indians have the highest rate of diabetes in the world. The biggest contributor to the problems of certain systemic illnesses such as diabetes and obesity is linked to food and nutrition. The introduction of western foods such as refined sugar, flour, and lard - first in the form of annuities and supplies - has had a negative effect on the health of the American Indian and Alaskan Native.

Studies on the link between genetics and nutrition related illness (nutrigenomics) shows that discrete populations such as the Makah and other indigenous peoples evolve a genetic code that is uniquely suited to a particular environment and its food resources. This genetic code regulates the biochemical processes in the body that produce enzymes, proteins, fatty acids, and thousands of other chemicals which function within the human body. The largest of these studies focused on the Pima Indians of Arizona, whose traditional diet and lifestyle was disrupted by western expansion of European immigrants around 200 years ago.

In short, the genetic makeup of the various indigenous peoples does not accommodate the trash foods of western culture. I personally can confirm this through observation of elderly Yupik and Inuit friends and family who become ill when denied their traditional subsistence diet for even a short time. The younger generations also suffer nutritional related problems. The allowance of the Makah to resume their hunt for a traditional food will help alleviate this.

Finally, lets look at the anti-American Indian organizations themselves that are aligned against the whale hunt. The activist organizations sticking their noses into Makah cultural business are multi-million dollar 501(c)(3) non-profits. They live off of the emotions of thousands who donate to them. The Animal Welfare Institute raked in over five million dollars in 2006. Watson’s Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is the baby of the bunch when taking in the money, but it raked in over two and a half million in 2006. Watson pays himself $80,000 a year, plus another $3,687 in extra benefits. Challenging the Makah is just another way for these organizations to increase their profits.

The news article included in the comment by “Anonymous” is a prime example of the general media’s negative attitude towards Native Americans (unless they are writing about a fabricated wannabe “tribe”). The article is far from balanced and is pointedly anti-Makah. It does support my contention that activists will be swarming out of the woodwork like cockroaches to outweigh rational thought in attempt to sway NOAA’s public hearings on the Makah hunt. Should they be allowed to succeed, count one more nail driven into the coffin of the continued existence of the American Indian people.

I fully reject, without whimpering, the anti-Indian position put forth by “Anonymous”.


Anonymous said...

There is no reason to kill a whale. There is no humane way to kill a whale. Indigenous peoples have been mistreated yes, but they don't need to kill whales anymore. There is no reason.

How dare you speak of spirituality when you want others to eat animal flesh, as you probably do. You response holds not one whit of merit.

"We pray on Sundays that we may have light

To guide our footsteps on the path we tread;

We are sick of war, we don't want to fight,

And yet we gorge ourselves upon the dead."

George Bernard Shaw

"To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime."

Romain Rolland, author, Nobel Prize 1915

"While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?" "Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called medical research."

George Bernard Shaw

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being."

Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist

"How can man be possessed of kindness who, to increase his own flesh, eats the flesh of other creatures. As those possess no property who do not take care of it, so those possess no kindness who feed on flesh." "Like the (murderous) mind of him who carries a weapon (in his hand), the mind of him who feasts with pleasure on the body of another (creature), has no regard for goodness." "Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. To harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator."

-Red Indian Chief (1854)

The American fast food diet and the meat eating habits of the wealthy around the world support a world food system that diverts food resources from the hungry.A diet higher in whole grains and legumes and lower in beef and other meat is not just healthier for ourselves but also contributes to changing the world system that feeds some people and leaves others hungry.

-Dr.Walden Bello

Genesis 1:29 "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food."

Anonymous said...

Too bad those indians have to ASK the feds for their permit to practice a traditional ceremony who else in this country has to be preapproved to practice their spirituality? NONE. I don't think it's the indians any animal activist needs to worry about, it should be all those large corporations that are killing off anything that gets in their way of progress.

Paikea said...

Where did you get the $$$ figure that Paul Watson gives himself per year? Everything he has goes back into the SSCS. He doesnt own a home, land or even a car for chrissake.

ThreeOaks said...

I don’t pull things out of thin air. Watson’s salary is listed on the organization’s IRS Form 990. You mean that the organization lies to the IRS? Come on, the guy has to live of something besides handouts, I don’t begrudge him for that.

ThreeOaks said...

If someone is going to use quotes, especially against Indians, they should at least have the decency to not include an eco-homily that was fabricated by Ted Perry for the environmental movement. The fake “Red Indian Chief (1854)” quote supposedly by See-Yahtlh is a version of the one was written by a card carrying member of the Sierra Club and is the white environmentalist notion of what the chief ought to have said during his 1854 speech to Governor Isaac Stevens when discussing the surrender of the Duwamish and Suquamish lands to the government and white settlers.

A person reading the paragraph would come to believe that the Chief (who became a devout Roman Catholic in 1830) was a pacifist who abhorred weapons and property ownership, when in reality he led more war party raids than anyone else in the region and owned eight slaves.

Attempting to use phony Indian stuff for propagandistic and polemic purposes
against American Indians gives those who know better a real insight into the racist mindset of those who are against the Makah. As a spurious “speech”, it has no moral force or validity and is useless as supporting evidence against the Makah - or any other Native American group that environmental and animal welfare activists attack. As it has been said, “Noble thoughts based on a lie lose their nobility.” Yet, should any Native American attempt to defend and put forth accurate information about cultural traditions they are immediately attacked by activists who claim that the Native American has no moral foundation to stand on.