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Geneva Hagen’s Essay on Roedy

Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays.

Geneva Hagen’s Essay on Roedy : Daniel Miller 2000-05-21

I think the deeper ramifications here is beyond the killing of whales [defined here as sentient beings.] The issue is rather that of a people not being incorporated into the greater whole of an aggressing culture [USA].

The Makah have likely incubated themselves from being incorporated into the dominating culture, although, doubtlessly they are influenced by it. Whether they used modern ammunition or their tribal ancestral means to hunt and kill the whale is moot. If the means is available in a given situation any culture will elect the most economic means.

The expression of killing a Grey Whale by the Makah represents to me an act of desperation for self-preservation and preservation of the people they identify themselves to be. They face the possibility of their own extinction. The whale killing could be regarded as an insane action to supposed civilized developed cultures, but to them it’s likely an opportunity for reclaimation of self. But the plight of the Makah is as importent a component to a larger problem — endemic lassitude of those who have lived more favourable and uninterupted life.

The United States federal government aided the Makah simply because it was useful for their agenda. Again, the Makah are on the outside, different and therefore expendable in the realm of the play.

>The International Whaling Commission has never recognized the Makah as a tribe with a subsistence need to hunt whales, Roedy points out. Yet, he says, the U.S. government is providing grants, subsidies and interest-free loans to help build a marina big enough to serve whaling vessels.

Further supportive information here. Some folks simply don’t have a long range projection of what their action can do.

> Roedy encourages people opposed to the whale hunt to boycott Washington State products such as apples and to write to politicians and to the Makah elders.

I don’t support a trade embargo. It could be used put forth in a media release with other relevant information to the whole of the situation. Giving forum for the Makah to present their own economic, societal and cultural plight is by far the most valuable action. But wouldn’t necessarily go directly to the elders. Here on Vancouver Island the elders are represented by largely a clique of male figures, who deal justice within the tribe, without outside intervention. For this reason, there is much abuse of power within a tribe and thus, people are afraid to act contrary [although I know locally there is some in-road by [female] certified social working band members]. So, as you can see the problem is quite complex, or rather the product of fragmentation of the culture that sits by a larger culture, like a seismic plate to larger seismic plate, just waiting for a disturbance to balance things.

I may say sound uncouthe, but a whale is only part of the larger cosmos. And Roedy’s attempted suicide is not much different from the actions of the Makah. Both are facing the real concept of their extinction, but then so are the whales, but the whales should be a primary focus. For all his martyrdom, I think Roedy and his colleges should develop a wider perspective if they want an end achieved. As it is, Greenpeace and all the other groups are highly funded by multinationals. One just has to be clear that what they want from the multinationals and let the latter have what they seek. Nothing is for free, life costs and move for power is constant and shifting. Even an eco-habitat proponent must be open minded. It’s the whole picture not the macro. And the one who sees more is in place to lever needed change.

I am not so bleak, especially over the long term. There will be some close political races in the US. What has to happen is for politicians to worry that whales may tip the balance. There are a lot more people who want whales left alone than want them killed. Politicians must learn this is a very emotional issue, and they had better well vote the right way. The whaling industry may have a lot more money than I do, but they are not a big industry as industries go. If rich logging companies can be made to behave surely whaling companies can.

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