NSB officials did not
accept this excuse because Greenland's Land Council is regarded as
part of the Danish government's colonial administration of Greenland,
and failure to be represented in Tokyo should not have been blamed on
the Greenland Inuit.
However, it turned out
that Denmark, who failed to provide for Inuit representation on her
IWC delegation, cooperated fully with the United States and the
Inupiat whalers, while Canada, who was pressured to include Raddi and
Pokiak, steadfastly opposed the U.S. position and advanced an
especially repressive position of her own.
The U.S. IWC delegation
was headed up by Richard Frank, Director of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and by Assistant
Secretary of State Patsy Mink. To the surprise of the Inupiat
whalers, Tom Garrett was still listed as Deputy U.S. Commissioner in
spite of his embarrassing racist behavior of recent months. William
Aron, formerly the U.S. Commissioner and before that, long-time
Deputy Commissioner, was listed merely as an advisor to the U.S.
delegation. While embarrassing, both Aron and Garrett were valued for
their knowledge of IWC politics, which probably did add strength to
the U.S. delegation.
After arriving in Tokyo
Friday night, the Alaska and U.S. delegations had the following two
days to learn about the political lay of the land and plan strategy.
It soon became clear that the sperm whale quota recommendations of
the IWC's Scientific Committee would be approved quickly, leaving
time for what was shaping up as an incredibly petty numbers game.
With the exception of such staunch whaling moratorium countries as
Netherlands, most of the IWC nations were in favor of lifting the
bowhead subsistence ban, and the argument revolved around just how
many bowhead the Inupiat could hunt. Several nations were under
instructions to vote for the lowest possible bowhead subsistence
The entire U.S. delegation met together for the first time in the auditorium of the U.S. Embassy Monday evening. The room was dominated by a huge seal of the United States that hung over the front of the room, and whatever differences there were between the members of the delegation, all felt an overriding awareness of being Americans trying to get each other out of trouble in a foreign country. This meeting was the first opportunity provided to the Inupiat whalers to meet with those who had been conspiring to ban subsistence bowhead whaling since 1970. The room was tense with distrust and resentment. The team had yet to be organized. The meeting got underway at 8:30 P.M. About 30 people were present. NOAA's Prudence Fox, a highly regarded whale conservationist who has felt real anguish about conflict with Inupiat subsistence whaling rights, chaired the meeting, and as she began Charles
Aides prepare delegates'
places in the hall of the Japanese Ministry in front of flags of the
Seventeen whaling nation members of IWC.
"Etok" Edwardsen moved
about the room with his buzzing automatic camera as if collecting
evidence of some potential crime about to be committed. The Alaskans
felt unfriendly vibes.
The meeting began with reports from those who had lobbied delegations assigned to them earlier. Richard Frank reported that Canada planned to promote a new bowhead subsistence quota of just 6 whales, and that the Canadians had said that this had the approval of the Canadian Inuit. At this point, the Inupiat whalers entered the conversation when Billy Neakok and Dale Stotts reported on their breakfast meeting with the Canadian delegation that morning at the Imperial Hotel.
Raddi set up the
breakfast meeting as soon as he had arrived Sunday evening, and he
learned with Neakok and Stotts that the Canadian delegation was under
instructions from Ottawa to seek a bowhead subsistence quota of just
6 whales. Raddi and the Alaskans protested, but there was little
Commissioner Martin, called back from retirement for this mission,
could do. How was it, then, that Richard Frank should be told by
Martin that the Inuit concurred with the Canadian position when Sam
Raddi and Randy Pokiak had protested their government's position
earlier that morning?
The U.S. delegation
listened to Neakok and Stotts with interest. Here was evidence of
Canadian duplicity, and all began to regard Canada as a common
problem drawing all closer together under the huge hanging Seal of
The group moved on to discuss the Federal bowhead whale regulations that had earlier been published in the Federal register. The Inupiat whalers were annoyed because the Vice President had assured them that the AEWC would be allowed to regulate bowhead subsistence whaling, and the AEWC did not want quotas to be set until reliable research proved their need. The published Federal regulations stipulated a quota of 15 taken, 30 struck and lost, whichever happened first. The Inupiat whalers regarded the publication of the Federal regs to be a betrayal of Mondale's promise, and wanted the AEWC's regulations to be adopted by the government. (See related story)
Wearing his hat as
Washington, D.C. lobbyist for the Defenders of Wildlife, Tom Garrett,
still U.S. Deputy Commissioner to the IWC, had written a 7-page
letter criticizing the government's proposed bowhead conservation
program for not being tough enough, and repeated the slanderous
charges of wasteful whaling practices that he felt were not being
addressed by the government. Fortunately, Garrett was out of the room
making Xerox copies of his letter when discussion of regulation
began. AEWC lawyer Lynn Sutcliff passed out copies of the AEWC's
published regulations, and it was clear that few had bothered to read
them before, but they took time to read them then. When Garrett
passed out copies of his critique, which began by alleging that
"Eskimos take lactating females," the Inupiat whalers were asked how
the AEWC would prevent their crews from taking females with calves.
Arnold Brewer responded by pointing out that the taking of females
with calves was unusual because such females customarily traveled
together in the 3rd run which usually occurred when the ice turned
rotten. He said that this run occurred far offshore, and was
customarily not hunted by Inupiat whalers.
Thus, it would be easy
to prohibit the taking of lactating females. Brewer explained this m
a way that caused the dawning throughout the U.S. delegation of a new
comprehension of whaling as a natural part of the bowhead's ecology,
where natural laws obtain. Lactating females naturally do not travel
through the leads in which all bowhead whaling is conducted in the
spring when most whales are taken. Most regard the debate over
lactating female whales to have been the critical point when the
delegation began to realize that the Inupiat whalers knew more about
the bowhead than anyone else, and were just as ardent in the cause of
bowhead whale conservation; that cooperative bowhead whale stocks
management under the direction of the AEWC would be necessary for
Steve Perles, a young lawyer from Senator Ted Stevens' staff, chuckled at the sudden reconciliation and concessions being made to the AEWC's management jurisdiction, and coined the expression "peel on" to describe the growing strength of the AEWC's positions as the basis for the U.S. position on the bowhead subsistence quota and bowhead stocks management. By the end of the evening, while the Inupiat whalers felt bad about Canada, they felt good about having come to friendly terms with those who had for so long plotted to ban bowhead subsistence whaling.
Courtesy Uaue Fleming, Caribou News