Freedom of Information Act Documents

These documents were obtained from the U.S. government by Sea Shepherd through the Freedom of Information Act.  They paint a very different picture from the claims made publicly by the Makah tribal council.

Page 1
Apr. 3, 1995
Memo from Michael Tillman at NMFS to various at NMFS
"Maggie informed me that Arum [Makah's lawyer] had told her that Japanese interests had approached the Makahs about selling whale meat to them."

Page 2
Apr. 27, 1995
Fax to Michael Tillman at NMFS
Notes from the discussion of treaty rights during the April 1995 pacific scientific review group meeting
"Because of the specific hunting rights detailed in the treaty and their participation in commercial whaling at the time the treaty was signed, the Makahs claim that their rights include both subsistence and commercial hunting of marine mammals."
"The Makah intend to harvest gray whales (starting in 1995), harbor seals (5 already taken), California Sea lions, minke whales, small cetaceans such as harbor porpoise and Dall's porpoise, and potentially in the future, sea otters.  The Makah are planning to operate a processing plant so as to sell to markets outside the U.S.  The Makah have started discussions with Japan and Norway about selling their whale products to both countries.  The plant could be used to process the catches of other tribes as well."

Page 3
Apr. 28, 1995
Email from Michael Tillman at MNFS to others at NMFS
"I am told, however, that Rollie's letter does not address the commercial use of marine mammals and this issue remains open."

Page 4
Page 5
May 5, 1995
Page 4 & 5 of the Makah proposal to the U.S. government from Rupert Markishtum of the Makah Tribal Council
"With the assistance of Dr. Ranker and tribal elders, we will more fully document our interim ceremonial and subsistence needs.
The tribal elders publicly denounced the tribal council's plan to reintroduce whale hunting.
"Makah's proposal, to be forwarded to the IWC, will be for an interim ceremonial and subsistence harvest of up to five gray whales annually."
The word "interim" is used all through this document, implying that the cultural aspect is temporary. 

Page 6
June 19, 1996
Letter from D. James Baker of NOAA to Prof. Phoebe Wray at the Center for Action on Endangered Species
"In Practice, only the United States has a clear restriction against the sale of meat from aboriginal subsistence whaling."
What he is saying directly conflicts with the internal NMFS department documentation above.

Page 7
Page 8
Oct. 23, 1997
Statement on Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling
Australian IWC Delegation
Regarding a press release by the U.S. delegation claiming the IWC had given permission and a quota:"The Australian delegation explicitly rejects each of these claims as false and as giving an entirely erroneous interpretation of both the schedule amendment as passed and the decision of the Commission itself."
"Clearly the Commission, as the only competent authority in the matter, has recognised the claims of the Chukotka natives but not those of the Makah people."


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