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University of Oregon

Talk: Joshua L. Reid

Oct 16, 2017


In 1999, the Makah Tribal Nation successfully hunted a gray whale. This action drew the ire of animal rights activists who often rooted their criticism in racism and stereotypes of Indigenous authenticity. Drawing from the tribal nation’s long history of their relationship with the sea, this talk will focus on Makah statements and actions from the eighteenth century on that illustrate how they have made and continue to maintain the surrounding marine waters as theirs. This historical context best helps us understand that modern Makah whaling is how this tribal nation articulates a traditional future for their people.


Dr. Reid is Professor of History at the University of Washington. He recently published his first book, The Sea Is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs, which examines the Makah Nation’s historical relationship with the ocean.