Monday, March 22, 2010



On May 17 1999 The Makah got their first whale in approximately 80 years. It was a time of rejoicing. They held a feast. Tribes came from across the United States and Canada. They painted their Tribe and Reservation's name on their cars.

This was our biggest victory since the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Every Indian shared in it. We had been inundated with the same hate that was thrown at the Makah.

The issue was never totally to save whales. It was anti-Indian. It was anti-Treaty. It was white supremacy.

There were some whose intent was to save gray whales. Josh Harper was one. He was convicted of throwing lit flares at the Hummingbird, the whaling canoe. He was told to keep a specific distance from Makah Tribal members.

He told Mike Two Horses, Coalition to End Racial Targeting of American Indian Nations founder, that he attended a land rally opposing Makah whaling. He said he was sickened by the hate he saw. He could not support the racism against the Makah and Indians in general. He wanted to simply save the lives of gray whales. He left and never did come back.

I applaud that committed and honest young man. Saving whales is a noble goal. Racism is not.

There were many who came to Clallam County to fight whaling. There were many who came to Clallam County to fight Indians. Unfortunately some of them stayed to continue their hate.

An organization to fight racism was started by the business community in Port Angeles. Stories of hate in Port Angeles had escaped and were printed in papers across the country.

A young Black coastguardsman had returned a movie to the video store. Across the street someone was selling flags. Prominent among them was the confederate flag. They chased the young Coastguardsman to his car.

One morning he awoke to find the "N" word scratched into his car.

Young Hispanic Coastguardsmen were at a Port Angeles bar. They were goaded into a fight by local racist whites. The same thing happened to South Sea Island Coastguardsmen. Hate openly fluorishes in Port Angeles. These stories were reported in papers as far away as Florida.

Port Angeles was hosting a baseball tournament for youth. A little girls Black team cancelled their participation after hearing of racist incidents. Their parents did not want them subjected to the hate Port Angeles was becoming famous for.

The local merchants feared that tourism was in jeapordy. They started an anti-racism group. The name has changed several times. I think they are now "The Multicultural Community Taskforce."

Seashepherd wiccans have taken over the taskforce. It does not deal with racism. The committee ignores it.

Seashepherd is good at manipulation. They asked Makah elder Alberta Thompson for a pet name for a little four year old girl. She said "Yabis." It means beloved in Makah.

Seashepherd humanized the whale that Makah hunters had gotten. They called her Yabis, our four year old baby girl. They continually stated that we had sacrificed her.

The Makah had tried to share our beliefs with the racist seashepherds. They told of our symbiotic relationship with the whales. We pray and state our need for the hunt or fishing. Something will hear our prayers and say it would be an honor for me to feed those People. They will knowingly sacrifice their lives that we might live.

We in turn feed their Spirits and keep them alive with our prayers, songs and dances. It was Makah prayers, songs and dances that brought the gray whale back from extinction.

There were many letters in the paper about the Makah killing "our four year old baby girl."

The Makah Headstart class was visiting Forks. Unfortunately this was during an antiwhaling rally. When antiwhalers saw the name Makah on the side of the bus they began attacking the bus full of 3-5 year olds. They banged their placards and yelled racist epithets at our babies.

My sister and I were driving by a Chuck Owens demonstration at the courthouse. People yelled "murderers" at us.

Our children were performing at a function in town. Chuck Owens again protested our children. The culture director ordered the bus to turn around. She took the children home. She didn't want our babies spat upon.

A young Elwha man was at a bar in Port Angeles. He went to the bathroom. Several white men followed him in. They started punching him knocking him down. They kicked him and asked "Are you a whaler.?"They didn't wait to find out if he was a Makah Whaler. They beat him simply because he is Indian.

On the day the Makah got their whale one of the seashepherds called in a bomb threat to the Puyallup and Tulalip Tribal schools. The students were sent home. The schools had to take the threat seriously. It caused much trauma to the students, their parents and grandparents.

It seems that seashepherd loves to terrorize small children. They have no respect for our Yabis.

I was in Walmart one day and ran into Alberta Thompson the Elder that seashepherd used to speak against Makah Whaling. I told her that I support Tribal whaling but didn't want to fight with her. She said she didn't want to fight with me. I was relieved. We had agreed to disagree. Suddenly a group of white haired white women came between us. They grabbed Alberta's wheel chair and pushed her away.

That was the last time we spoke. Seashepherd engineered problems between Alberta and her Tribe, relatives and friends. I saw her at a dinner on the Little Boston reservation. She sat at the Elders table with my mother. She wouldn't eat the Traditional foods. She said she didn't like it and didn't know how to eat it. The other Elders were angry. Mom offered to open the oysters and clams for her. Seashepherd had succeeded in making Alberta ashamed of being Indian.

When the village site at Hoko was being excavated Alberta Thompson was the Traditional Foods cook.

Today Alberta is in a nursing home. She is all but forgotten by her seashepherd allies who used her so shamefully.

Seashepherd attacked our culture, traditions, beliefs and ceremonies. They tried to make us ashamed of being Indian as their missionary ancestors had done.

We have a right to be Indian. We have a right to be safe in our homes and communities. We have a right to live the life that the Creator gave us.

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