In the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of North America a whale swims blissfully unaware of its own significance. It is a Gray Whale; scientists would call it Eschrichtius robustus and at nearly forty feet long, it is large enough that it does not have to worry about sharks or other carnivorous animals. Yet there are those that are brave enough to hunt the whale. They are the Makah People of the Olympian Peninsula, in upper Washington state. By doing so, they place themselves at the center of a complex ethical debate amongst activists, scientists, and the general public. The Makah have hunted whales and other marine animals for centuries. The debate arises of whether or not they should be allowed to continue to do so in the future or if it was even ethical to do so in the first place.
Cocci, Jeff, "Persistence in the North Pacific: The Makah People and Their Fight to Protect Their Cultural Heritage" (2022). Richard T. Schellhase Essay Prize in Ethics. 22.