Makah elders rally on eve of federal court appearance

PORT ANGELES – Two Makah women with protest signs outside the Port Angeles office of U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks on Thursday said that the federal government hasn’t lived up to its treaty obligations.

Dotti Chamblin, 65, and Gail Adams, 67, both of Neah Bay, waved signs at passing motorists on the corner of Peabody and Fifth streets in Port Angeles – the intersection in front of a satellite office for Dicks, D-Belfair, who represents the 6th Congressional District.

“We grandmothers got together and decided to do some peaceful rallies,” Chamblin said.

“As grandmothers, we can’t do much else.”

Chamblin said six Makah women plan to be in Seattle today, rallying in front of the offices of U.S. Sens. Patty Murray, D-Freeland, and Maria Cantwell, D-Mountlake Terrace.

They also plan to attend a federal court appearance of five men who hunted and killed a gray whale last month.

The men involved in the unauthorized hunt will be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. today in U.S. District Court of Western Washington in Tacoma.

The women said that the federal government is violating an explicit part of the Makah 1855 treaty, which grants them whaling rights.

“Those boys did nothing wrong, according to the treaty,” Chamblin said.

Dicks, who sits on the Appropriation Subcommittee for the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was not in Port Angeles.

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