Marking The Landscape: Monuments And Art (Makah Whale Hunt)

Makah Whale Hunt


 Decisions development and planning can affect the values of indigenous heritage. Those making these decisions regard indigenous heritage issues as complex and find it difficult to communicate with the local communities. Planning and decision making assists in protecting the different aspects of natural and cultural resource in a given environment (Katz, 2000). Maintenance of heritage places and values is a significant part of the community cultural identity and wellbeing. Indigenous heritage creates and maintain the relationship among the ancestor, people and the land. Basically, indigenous heritage is a unique irreplaceable cultural heritage that requires greater protection and recognition. Indigenous cultural heritage exists through out the waters and the lands. Moreover, effective protection of the indigenous heritage is of important in maintain the identity, well being and the health of the people. It is a core element in regard to spiritual and customary law of the community concerned (Moss, 2011). This chapter will demonstrate how marking the landscape, monuments and art such as Makah whale hunt is of great importance.

The Makah Whale Hunt

Before going out for the hunt, the whalers went to bathe, pray and fast for the ceremony. Each man has his own place, ritual and power. Special preparation that began in winter was a season for special readiness through devotion. Men waited for a favorable ocean and weather conditions before departing for the hunt. The relationship between the whales and Makah is very old and recent given its impact in the community culture. It is hard to estimate how long the Makah hunting culture of the whales began.  This is because the archeological evidence points the activity to have happened 2,000 years. Hunting of whales was not an easy task because of the complicated rituals that the Makah hunters were required to observe in preparation (Alex, 2009). The Makah economic prosperity of the community mainly depended on the trade of the whale.

Indigenous heritage conservation

 Just like the Makah culture, indigenous cultural heritage existed in all aspects of the landscape and the people who live in it. Actually, negotiation and consultation are critical to indigenous heritage management process. Indigenous people such as Makah have a broad range of issues that they need to address. As indicated by the Makah community, involvement of people in any culture is an important part of negotiation process. When a given community manages its heritage it maintains its value through different approaches such as maintenance, restoration, removal and interpretation (Roger, 2005).

 The fundamental issue in contact history is the degree to which contact result to existence of communities in a given area. Different groups of people occupy a given area for different reasons. In consideration to the Makah tribe which specialized in whale hunting it is clear that people migrate from one area to another for they personal reason (Callum, 2007). In general, there are numerous reasons as to why people may consider a certain area to be of great importance considering factors such: Longing for stimulants, desire for stable foods, economic necessity, curiosity, diseases and security. According to super waterhole theory people usually gather in a given area due to its plenty economic resources such as Makah while which were being traded by the Makah people.  Moreover, according to super ceremony theory, people comes together in a given area for social reasons such as praying together or offering sacrifices together. This is the same way in which the Makah people did before they could leave for whale hunting. They would gather together in a given area and conduct a spiritual ritual in order that they would be blessed by God for their activity (Tomasik, 2003).

The Makah whaling culture illustrated that super waterhole reasons for coming together took effect before the super ceremony reasons. This is an indication that both super waterhole and super ceremony reasons for people coming together are both interrelated (Peterson, 2013). Anybody who came for the ceremony created an incentive for the culture and the community. In order to understand the culture and behavior of a given community, it is important to go beyond examining how people came in a given area and use life history information in conjunction with mapping both their lives and the changes in the settlement patterns. Mapping of the settlement patterns of a community helps in determining their origin and way of life. Archeology remains a long history of the Makah community culture and beliefs. Whale hunting and the remains of different kinds of whales in the area indicate how these people lived and how they lived in harmony together. The ceremonies in Makah community were an important reason why people came together and they indicated that the community had accomplished a certain mission. Basically, the reasons as to why the Makah community occupied the area they leave is because of different interrelated factors such as economic, social and spiritual reason (David, 2005).


Just like all other cultures, the Makah tribe culture has undergone much metamorphosis since the ancient times. The Makah people live on a reservation that sits on the northwest tip of Olympic peninsula in united stated. The Makah community is just like any other American in all aspects.  In addition to the Makah territories, the tribe had numerous reserved ocean fishing and sea mammal hunting areas as they treaty was being signed. Each of the area of the Makah community had a name by the Makah language (Anne, 2013). One of the amazing things about the Makah community is its culture which has remained the same for about a thousand years. Although, there are changes that have happened with the people’s culture they did not happen overnight. Actually, not all changes of the Makah culture that was related to the natural resources. It is for this reason that the Makah community tribal council developed and passed laws that operated on the Makah reservation.


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