‘We’re just people’ — Neah Bay townfolk wary, worried about reaction to unsanctioned whale kill

NEAH BAY – After a tumultuous weekend, Monday morning dawned clear and calm on the Makah Reservation – but many here awoke wary and worried.

They’re worried that the death of a gray whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Saturday, at the hands of five hunters who didn’t have tribal permission, would bring animal activists to the town and harassment to its people.

The five men were arrested for allegedly killing the whale without permission from the tribe or the federal government.

The five – Theron Parker, Andy Noel, Bill Secor Sr., Frank Gonzales Jr. and Wayne Johnson – were arrested and later released on bail, to face tribal charges.

On Monday, Alice Murner, principal of Neah Bay Elementary School, instructed her staff to watch out for the news media – and to decline comment.

She asked a reporter to leave, saying, “We just want to keep our kids safe” from protesters who would disrupt this usually peaceful fishing village.

No protesters appeared in Neah Bay on Monday, unlike the 1999 Makah tribal whale hunt that drew anti-whaling activists from across the country.

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