Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Makah people.

The Makah tribe are a native American people who are located in the most north westerly point of continental United States, in Washington state. Because they were situated so close to the sea they used marine life to provide their wealth and survival. From the sea they used the fish to eat both at that time and to preserve it by drying it and eating it weeks or months later. They also ate porpoise and seal and used otter fur to trade as well as use it as chafe guards which were worn under the clothes. A further use of the sea was the whaling industry which was and still is something the Makah pride themselves on. The Makah used nearly every part of the Whale; the meat and blubber to eat, the oil was sold and was very profitable, and bones were used for things like combs and war clubs. 

The website presents the Makah as a very successful group. This, they claim, is down to ''their ability to adapt, survive and flourish.''  (Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula) An example from their website which suggests success by adapting is their ability to adapt and survive following a substantial amount of the tribe who were wiped out as a result of diseases like influenza, whooping cough and small pox being brought over by the European settler. And as it was a disease the tribe had never encountered before, thousands of tribal members died. They claim this resulted in old ways being lost. However, the tribe has survived and has adapted their ways because of it.

The Makah still claim on their website to be successful and still pride themselves on their ability to adapt and survive. The Makah still profit greatly from fishing and whaling as they did centuries before, but they also have adapted to modern day lifestyles and own various shops, restaurants and hotels to encourage tourism to the area. The Makah seem a people who have been successful in adapting to modern influences of the Europeans as well as influence from the western world today. But they have also kept traditions of fishing and whaling that their ancestors lived by. 

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