Introduction
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AuthenticityandColonialCosmology
Peoplearelivinginthemiddleoftheircosmology,downinamongstit;they
are energetically manipulating it, evading its implications in theirown lives
if they can, but using it for hitting each other and forcing one another to
conformtosomethingtheyhaveinmind.1
On 17 May 1999, the Makah Indians of Cape Flatterycompleted their first
whalehuntinoverseventyyears.An1855treatywithWashington’sterrito-
rialgovernor,IsaacStevens,guaranteedtheMakahtherighttohuntwhales,
butwiththenear-extinctionofthegraywhale,theystoppedwhalinginthe
1920s. By 1998, the gray whale was no longer on the endangered species
list,andtheMakahsuccessfullyappliedtotheInternationalWhalingCom-
mission for permission to reinstate their traditional and treaty rights.The
Makahcarriedoutthehuntusingacombinationof ‘‘traditional’’and‘‘mod-
ern’’ means.They harpooned thewhale by hand from a canoe, then com-
pletedthekillwiththeuseofspeedboatsanda50-caliberhigh-poweredrifle.
Public response was immediate, emotional, and violent.Within hours
of the kill, the Seattle Times received almost 400 phone calls and e-mails;
opinion was ten to one against the hunt. Schools on Indian reservations
throughout Puget Sound received bomb threats; members of the Makah
tribe received death threats.The slogan ‘‘Save a whale, harpoon a Makah’’
appearedonbumperstickers,anapparentcalltoreturntothe‘‘WildWest’’
daysof Indiankilling.
Why did the whale hunt incite such outrage? According to the Seattle
Times,‘‘themostcommonreactionwasdisdainforatraditionalhuntmade
with modern
weaponry.’’2
One man judged the hunt benign as long as all
theMakahwantedwasto‘‘jumpintoleakywoodencanoesandrowaround,
throwingsharpenedsticksatpassingwhales.’’Hechangedhisopinionwhen
he learned of the technology the Makah planned to use: ‘‘If the Makahs
intendtohuntwhalesinorderto‘resurrecttheirculturaltraditionsandre-
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