NEAH BAY, Wash. -- A group of paddlers is scheduled on Saturday to mark the 15-year anniversary of the Makah tribe’s last legal whale hunt.
Wayne Johnson tells the Peninsula Daily News that the Makah Whaling Commission organized the paddle to mark May 17, 1999, when the tribe killed its first gray whale in decades. Johnson captained the crew that killed a whale off the Washington coast.
The whaling commission said it planned a paddle, a feast and a celebration Saturday.
Meanwhile, federal officials are finalizing an environmental review that could lead to another hunt.
Whaling is a centuries-old tradition for the tribe at the tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The Makah are guaranteed whaling rights under their 1855 treaty with the U.S.
Animal rights activists and others, however, decried the 1999 killing.