A Native Tribe Wants to Resume Whaling. Whale Defenders Are Divided

Good example of the concept of cultural or collective rights.

“We’re talking rights here,” Nate Tyler, a 47-year-old tribal council member, said of whaling. “It’s our identity.”

Many Makah believe a traditional diet that includes whale can help to improve their health. The preparation for a hunt is also physically and spiritually nourishing, tribal members say. Hunters train by running and paddling every day. They fast, abstain from sex and face the sun and pray each morning. After a kill, they pray for and thank the whale for providing for them.

“It brings to life a better part of our culture,” said Spencer McCarty, a 59-year-old Makah whaler.

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