Makah Whaling

Makah whaling is an old tradition.

Makahs are native American people from the US state of Washington.  

A Makah Hunting Canoe Model
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They have been living in the state's coastal areas for almost 4000 years.

Traditionally, they lived in small coastal villages and got much of their food from the ocean.

Along with whales, they also caught fish and seals as well as smaller sea food.

They carved red cedar canoes to access the waters. Their hunting methods were difficult and not very efficient.

They approached a whale with several canoes to strike the whale with harpoons which slowly killed the whale (nowadays, a rifle is used to ensure quick killing and less suffering).

Once killed, the whale was brought to land where traditional ceremonies were performed.

The whale was then divided up and the products were shared among the villagers.

Makahs have been suspended their whaling rights over the years and then again been able to re-establish whaling when the populations have increased. At the present time, the Makahs do not engage in whaling.

This is one example of a village that historically survived on the bounty from the sea, including whales. However, at one whale a year, they did not impact the whale population.

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