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CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON IS NO STRANGER TO CONTROVERSY. But this particular conflict was more personal than most. His latest book is a fascinating and thought-provoking account of what happened when anti-whaling activists found themselves at odds with tribal rights. Conservationists, eco-warriors, whale protectors, and supporters of Indigenous traditions—as well as anyone who simply loves a good story—will find themselves captivated by this tale.
DEATH OF A WHALE: The Challenge of Anti-Whaling Activists and Indigenous Rights narrates the events as they unfolded. In 1998, Sea Shepherd began a campaign to protect gray whales from slaughter by members of the Makah tribe of the Pacific Northwest, who had recently invoked cultural entitlements to allow them to practice their ancestral hunting rights. Makah members, conservationists, and non-Indigenous Americans vehemently expressed disparate points of view about whether tribal whaling operations, which had ended almost a century earlier, should be recognized, even when they were not in accord with international Indigenous whaling regulations.
This electrifying, real-life adventure story showcases an Indigenous community at odds with itself, governments and media that advance their own agendas, and grassroots organizers who display heroic activism. Highly detailed and documented, the book reveals Captain Watson's deep and unwavering respect for Indigenous traditions and rights, even when they conflict with his own devotion to the sovereignty of whales.
Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian-American marine-conservation activist who founded the direct-action group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977. He and Sea Shepherd became well-known through Animal Planet's Whale Wars TV series that aired in 2008. He is the author and coauthor of more than a dozen books on his life as an activist, the environment, and Sea Shepherd's numerous campaigns. For more information, visit seashepherd.org.