The people of Gold River and Nootka Inlet on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, are in mourning today as the late Chief of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation (MMFN), Ambrose Maquinna, has died once again, this time by rubbing himself up to the moving propeller of a local tugboat.
Just days before his first death in July 2001, Chief Maquinna informed his loyal followers that he planned to return after death as a Kakawin (killer whale). Upon returning to Nootka Sound a few days later in the form of an orca previously known as Luna, Maquinna the Whale was renamed Tsux'lit by the loyal MMFN, who remembered Chief Maquinna's prophetic words.
During the summer of 2004 the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) attempted to lure Maquinna/Luna away from Nootka Sound in a plan to reunite him with a travelling pod of orcas, but the MMFN were successful in foiling the effort. They were rewarded with a $48,000 federal government grant allowing them to set up a Lunatic patrol that would attempt to keep Luna/Maquinna from getting too closely involved with the boats of curious visitors as well as local people.
Luna is also the only Orca whale known to have been an Indian chief.
Sadly, the group failed to keep Luna/Maquinna from constantly fraternizing with visiting boats, leading to Maquinna's second death, fatally injured by a tug he was trying to befriend, perhaps mistaking it for a fellow whale. Luna will be sorely missed by all, especially the MMFN who will soon lose not only Luna/Maquinna, but also their federal grant.
Crazy BC August 2006
I think the government needs their heads tested giving that sort of money away for something like this when we need an influx of money into our health system and need more housing for the poor etc. I know $48,000 is small potatoes but it seems to me that every time a minority group squeaks, however ridiculous, the government are quick to pay up. Sad as it is for the whale to have met his death I can't say I am sorry that the grant was not paid. Perhaps they will get it when the Chief returns in another incarnation, as he is obviously onto a good thing.