In February, the Makah tribe filed a request for a wavier from the Marine Mammal Protection Act so that it can legally hunt whales as its 1855 treaty with the United States guarantees it the right to do so. Apparently wanting to hedge its bets, the tribe has also approached at least one U.S. Senator and Representative asking for legislation that would exempt the tribe from the MMPA.
Makah Chairman Ben Johnson told the media in March that the tribe had contacted U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Washington) inquiring about the possibility of legislation that would exempt the tribe from the requirements of the MMPA.
Johnson told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
We’ve just talked to them a little at this point. Whether anything will come of it, who knows?
For opponents of the Makah, however, the MMPA is beside the point — they just don’t ever want to see a resumption of whaling, regardless. As The Humane Society of the United States’ Naomi Rose told the Post-Intelligencer,
For us, it’s a real simple equation: We do not want them hunting gray whales again, period.
Remember this the next time the HSUS claims it doesn’t oppose hunting on principle.
Makah try long shot: asking Congress to allow whale hunts. Lewis Kamb, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 21, 2005.
Makah officials ask Cantwell, other officials to waive marine mammal act for whaling, but no bill on table. Raul Vasquez, Peninsula Daily news, March 11, 2005.