|Date: March 20, 2009|
Author: James Michael Craven
|Evil is no faceless stranger
Living in a distant neighborhood.
Evil has a wholesome hometown face
With merry eyes and an open smile.
Evil walks among us, wearing a mask
Which looks like all our faces...
from "The Book of Counted Sorrows" in Friendly Fascists: The New Face of Power in America by Bertram Gross
In 1995, the Makah, whose reservation is on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, outlined their plan of reviving a culturally significant practice in their community to the US Attorney, the FBI, the US Coast Guard, the US Marshal's Service, the National Fisheries Marine Service, the National Park Service, the Washington State Patrol and the Clallam County Sheriff. That practice was hunting whales, which the Makah's 1855 treaty with the US government guarantees their right to pursue. They also sought and received an aboriginal subsistence whaling permit from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in October 1997 with US support. Although Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund - what you might call the first order "save the whales" folks - did not object, the response from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was swift and furious. They had successfully sought the aid of US Representative Jack Metcalf (R-Washington) to push a House Resolution withdrawing US support for an earlier Makah petition to the IWC, and faced with the Makah's ongoing plans, sought an injunction against the hunt as recently as September which was denied by a Tacoma judge. Its most vocal opponent has been Captain Paul Watson who is conducting a press and action campaign including ships on standby to interfere with the hunt, a decommissioned Norwegian sub playing whale alarm songs to warn off targeted whales, and a $2000 reward for the hunt's starting time and location.
He claims to have been led to these actions by a vision engendered in a Native American setting. But in the course of fighting the Makah's self-limited hunt of four whales a year, Sea Shepherd has made some startling alliances. Dark Night field notes asked James Michael Craven who has been following the arguments swirling around the proposed hunt to speak to the hidden cultural and economic imperialism, environmental and spiritual arrogance, and "strange bedfellow" unions that underlie Watson's "Where is the Whales' Manifesto?"1 We present Watson's argument and Craven's responses point by point:
Watson: It is ironic and sad, yet appropriate, that I find myself leading the fight to oppose plans by the Makah Tribal Council to slaughter four Eastern Pacific gray whales in the waters of Washington state. A few weeks ago in Seattle, a sympathizer for the Makah's whaling initiative, demanding to know why I cared so much about four whales, yelled at me "Where were you when they were shooting Indians at Wounded Knee!?" "I was there," I answered.2
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