Swan (6), one of the early settlers in the Washington Territory, wrote in his ethnographic monograph on the Makah
Indians (Swan, 1869:29): "The dogfish (ya-cha) Acanthias suckleyi, is taken in great quantities for the sake of the oil contained in the liver, which forms the principal article of traffic between these Indians and the whites...The method of extracting as practiced by the Makahs
is to collect the livers, which are put into a tub and kept until a considerable quantity has accumulated.
While I watched for whales I pondered a PBS McLaughlin Report I'd seen, in which the host had asked, in response to the killing of a gray whale by Makah
Indians, "For a liberal, which is more PC--Native rights or the defense of whales?" The answer, from the "liberal" panelist Clarence Page, was, "We shouldn't be killing whales--we should be studying them." (He also said that he wouldn't tell the Makahs
what they should do.) The Makah
whaling situation is very different from that of Cook Inlet, but both provide a test of the kind McLaughlin posed--how non-Natives feel about Native people continuing (or resuming) traditional activities that involve killing animals ("intelligent" whales, "cute" baby seals) we've invested with greater value than, for example, catfish or steers.