Cursed Makah Whaling Canoe Retired

In July 2006, the Makah whaling canoe the Hummingbird capsized sending Hereditary Chief Joseph Andrew Jack, of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht tribe of Vancouver Island, into the sea where he drowned.

The boat that took the life of Yabis the baby gray whale in 1999 has now claimed a human life.

"What goes around apparently comes around," said Captain Paul Watson. "In my opinion that boat was cursed the moment the harpoon left it and entered the body of the whale. There was nothing traditional about that kill."

"We do extend our sympathies to the family of Chief Jerry Jacks," continued Captain Watson. "His death was a tragedy and a loss to his people. Unfortunately, the traditional hunt went hand in hand with the loss of Makah whalers. Both whales and men died in the days when the hunt was a necessity for the Makah. The sea has now claimed a life for the one that the Makah whalers took. The Buddhists would call this karma; the whales would call this justice."

And tradition is being ignored again. Makah tradition calls for the canoe to be burnt.

"The tradition is to burn a canoe when something like this happens,'' Makah Tribal Chairman Ben Johnson said. "We won't with this one because it's a whaling canoe.''

The 32-foot Hummingbird will be retired to a platform at the Makah Marina in Neah Bay.

The Makah have not killed another whale since May 1999. Their original plan was to kill five whales a year beginning in 1998. Sea Shepherd intervention in an alliance with many other groups and some Makah Elders has shut down the illegal slaughter since. This means that 44 whales have been spared as a result of the campaign.

Captain Paul Watson has almost completed his book on the campaign entitled Bury My Myth at Makah Bay. The book will be a history of the campaign to oppose the revival of commercial whaling by the Makah Tribe.

Click here to learn more about the Makah tribe's "traditional" whaling.