Exercising Cultural Self-Determination: The Makah Indian Tribe Goes Whaling

I have posted on the Social Science Research Network webpage a Law Review article I wrote in 2002 ad that was published in the American Indian Law Review.

You can download the article for free from SSRN.

Self-determination is an important concept in federal Indian law and for American Indian Nations. Every distinctly identified group of people has the right to determine for themselves how they will live and what religious and cultural concepts and practices they will pursue. The Makah Indian Nation determined in 1994, when the gray whale was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species list, to resume its traditional cultural whaling practices. The Tribe successfully landed a whale in 1999 under intense worldwide scrutiny and some criticism. Since then, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has prevented the Tribe from further whaling. This Article sets out the historical, legal, and cultural justifications for Makah whaling rights, and the reasons the Makah are reviving their whaling religion and culture.

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