Thursday, June 17, 2004

Chief returns as orca, tribal members say

Luna the whale is a reincarnated chief, say First Nations people in British Columbia. Luna arrived in Nootka Sound about the same time as the elder chief died in 2001.

"That means a lot in that my late father expressed to a couple of members that he was going to come back as a killer whale," said Mike Maquinna, chief of the Mowachaht First Nation. More here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who Won and Who Lost?

The struggle over Luna may look like a victory for the Mowachaht-Muchalaht people but before being certain of it, consider who was the "loser" here. It wasn't DFO. It wasn't the Vancouver Aquarium. DFO did spent a lot of money from an already strained budget but protection on Marine Mammals is their job. The Vancouver Aquarium volunteered people, time and equipment but assisting Marine Mammals is something they do. The real "loser" in what First Nations did by interfering with DFO's attempt to capture Luna, is Luna himself.

Luna belongs to the Southern Resident population of Orca's that summer in the Haro Strait between Canada and the US. These whales have a tighter social and cultural bond than we human beings know in our own lives. They stay with each other their entire lives, Mothers and children all within the same matriarchal sub pod. Luna would be swimming with his Grandmother and his Mother if he were where he should be. This population of Orca's is endangered and Luna being among them is as important to them as it is to him.

Luna's behavior is due to boredom and the lack of the companionship of his own kind. Living outside the pod, which happened by accident, has left him without the guidance that any "child" whale would normally receive from his Mother. Luna's behavior will not improve without that but will only get worse. Humans cannot substitute for his natural family, not if he's to remain a "wild whale". For his own health and safety, Luna NEEDS to return to L-Pod. He just doesn't know how because Resident whales don't travel or live alone. Luna will be 5 years old next month and has lived alone for 3 of those years. It's vital to his own survival that he be returned to his own pod, his own culture, immediately. Failing to do so will only cost Luna more of his "wildness" by interacting with people which only puts both in greater danger. The only true "winner's" with what happened between First Nations and DFO is an unknown aquarium or sea amusement park. They're ready and waiting for Luna to get himself in enough trouble that captivity is the only option open to him.

However you look at this, from whatever side you're on, the only one losing anything is Luna. The humans involved in this, all of them, should consider the potential outcome for Luna and finally do what's right for him. Work together and give him back the life he deserves. Only then does everyone "win".

10:51 AM  

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