What is Culture

The way of life of a single society is referred to as culture. Local communities have it as a self-contained feature. Though culture shapes identity, it has an impact that extends beyond community members. It is fair for people outside the Makah community to judge the morality of whale hunting as a cultural activity based on this.
Even those who aren’t fans of Makah culture can feel its impact. The Makah, a North American tribe, hunted gray whales. They stopped whaling in the 1920s when the gray whale population was depleted, and new methods of passing down the culture were introduced (Marker). The cessation of the practice on account of its environmental impact highlights a shared consciousness since the issue of environmental conservation transcends any one particular culture. As a result, anyone who is afflicted by the practice has a right to speak about it. At a time where environmental conservation is a global agenda, and species protection is emphasized, everyone gets a say on the practice of whale hunting.

On account of numbers affected, the will of the many should be considered over that of the minority. One cannot sacrifice the larger group on account of the smaller one. The world has very many cultures whose survival depends on their relationship. Since the Makah population is a small one yet America has many cultures, the most utilitarian ground has to be found through legislation for cohesion. For instance, the declaration of the gray whale as endangered would have been made even if the Makah had resisted. The good of the many is noted to surpass the want of the few. (Khoury)

The gray whales are living creatures and therefore should not be subjected to the unquestionable rule of another. This subjection is in violation of animal rights. The legislation made to outlaw whaling of this particular species saved the gray whale from extinction. Arguably, the tribal leaders who want to revert to whaling may have a point in that they want to preserve their culture, but its effect on another species is dangerous. Nonmembers legislate with the Makah culture in mind, and they are to make sure they do not propose an overhaul of their culture. (Gordon). This way, the maximum utility is realized in that the culture of the Makah remains intact while the gray whale species is not driven into extinction. Legislation has allowed the Makah a limited number of whales to hunt so as to pass their culture to their youth. The Makah elders in their consideration saw whaling as an outdated practice and change was inevitable. (Sepez). This agreement is an acknowledgement of an outsider perspective. Nonmembers of the Makah culture should, therefore, participate in the decision making.

It is appropriate for nonmembers of the Makah culture to take part in the decision on whale hunts by the Makah. It is appropriate because the impacts of the practice affect groups other than the Makah, and the survival of another species. In line with the principle of autonomy, all affected units are mandated to participate on issues that may have an impact on them. The Makah whale hunting culture, therefore, transcends the Makah community.

Works Cited

Gordon, Miles. “An Examination of the Makah Native American Tribe Struggle for Reclamation of Whaling Rights.” American Environment and Cross-Cultural Conflict (2016): 73. Print.

Khoury, Monder. “Whaling in Circles: The Makahs, the International Whaling and Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling.” Hastings Law Journal (2015): 304. Print.

Marker, Michael. “After the Makah Whale Hunt: Indigenous Knowledge and Limits to Multicultural Discourse.” Urban Education (2006): 483. Print.

Sepez, Jennifer. “Treaty Rights and the Right to Culture.” Culture Dynamics (2002). Print.

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