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Feds propose plan for Washington tribe to resume whale hunts

UPDATED: Thu., April 4, 2019

In this May 17, 1999 photo, two Makah Indian whalers stand atop the carcass of a dead gray whale moments after helping tow it close to shore in the harbor at Neah Bay, Wash. Earlier in the day, Makah Indians hunted and killed the whale in their first successful hunt since voluntarily quitting whaling over 70 years earlier. Federal officials are now supporting the Native American tribe's decades-long request to resume whale hunts off the coast of Washington state.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday, April 4, 2019, announced its proposal to allow the Makah Tribe to hunt and harvest one to three gray whales annually over a 10-year period. (ELAINE THOMPSON / AP)
In this May 17, 1999 photo, two Makah Indian whalers stand atop the carcass of a dead gray whale moments after helping tow it close to shore in the harbor at Neah Bay, Wash. Earlier in the day, Makah Indians hunted and killed the whale in their first successful hunt since voluntarily quitting whaling over 70 years earlier. Federal officials are now supporting the Native American tribe's decades-long request to resume whale hunts off the coast of Washington state.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday, April 4, 2019, announced its proposal to allow the Makah Tribe to hunt and harvest one to three gray whales annually over a 10-year period. (ELAINE THOMPSON / AP)
By Sally Ho Associated Press

SEATTLE – Federal officials are now supporting a Native American tribe’s decades-long request to resume whale hunts off the coast of Washington state.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday announced its proposal to allow the Makah Tribe of Washington to hunt and harvest one to three gray whales annually over a 10-year period.

The Makah tribe has historically harvested stranded whales and also hunted whales, but hasn’t done so for 20 years.

It has treaty rights to hunt whales, but last did so in 1999 as it faced legal challenges from animal rights activists.

The latest proposal is the strongest federal support the tribe has garnered, though it now faces a hearing in August with an administrative law judge.

The remote Makah reservation is about 120 miles northwest of Seattle.

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