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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Whaling is an immoral way for a native tribe to reclaim its heritage

Makah whalers with a whale carcass near Neah Bay, Wash., in 1910.
Makah whalers with a whale carcass near Neah Bay, Wash., in 1910.
(Asahel Curtis)

To the editor: While we were floating in small boats in one of Baja California’s gray whale “nursery” lagoons, mother whales brought their calves close and lifted them toward us for stroking. Our guide said that the mothers remembered when they were juveniles and came up to meet gentle people in the boats.

Hurting and killing these highly intelligent and emotional animals is no way for any people, including the Makah of Washington state, to reclaim their heritage. There are many other aspects of culture that are positive and worthy of maintaining.

All of us should be expanding our moral horizons, not contracting them.

Deborah W. Elliott, Pacific Palisades

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To the editor: Anti-whaling activist Margaret Owen’s argument against the rights of a native tribe to engage in an activity that is culturally important and given to them by treaty (actually, paid for, as they paid for the right with land) can be summed up as followers: The desires of white people override those of the natives, because we are morally superior.

I’m sure the activists consider themselves progressive, but the fact is that their arguments are similar to those from the 1700s and 1800s.

Edward Crane, Claremont

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To the editor: It appears that the Makah have the right by treaty to hunt whales.

Morality would suggest they abrogate that right, but if they insist on exercising it, they should at least be required to do it in the traditional way: by using boats, floats, ropes and harpoons that they have made, and by using traditional techniques.

John Sherwood, Topanga


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