the Loss of a True Hero

The loss of a True Hero.

Today I received an email from my old friend and anti whaling activist, Will Anderson. It simply stated I needed to call him as the message had to be made in person. I knew what it was as tears began to fall and I skyped his number. Alberta “Binki” Thompson had passed away. Will had been a loyal aid to Binki for the last decade and knew I had a strong love of this courageous hero.

Back in the late 90’s the Makay Tribe decided to end their hundred year moratorium on killing whales. This was a diabolical plot including the Clinton Administration, VP Al Gore in the lead, National Marine Fisheries, The National Marine Sanctuary, Japanese and Norwegian whaling interests. The news frenzy was amazing as anti whalers butted heads with heavily federally funded tribal leaders. The tribe members either joined the force or kept quiet due to extreme pressure. All but one; then 76 year old Makah elder, Alberta Thomson, took a stand.

The anti Whalers rallied around Binki. I hosted a series of seminars to show the public why we were against the killing of whales as the press was only showing one side. As speakers I had Capt. Paul Watson, a selection of other anti whaling activists, Congressman Jack Metcalf and my new friend Binki. When she told of her close encounters with grey whales and the bond she felt with them, there was not a dry eye in the audience. I had to actually rearrange the speakers as I had the Congressman last at the first event but felt bad introducing him with teary eyes to a sobbing audience, from then on Binki was the anchor.

The tribal leaders took a no tolerance stand against anyone who opposed them. Binki suffered horrendously at the hands of the tribal leaders. She lost her job, her daughter lost her land rights and they even killed her little dog! It took courage like most us will never know to stand her ground. She would not yield. She used every opportunity to speak against the killing of these fine animals and she did it with poise and charm always speaking calmly and with love.

Binki spent the last years of her life quietly in a rest home near her native home at Neah Bay. She was not forgotten by the whale activists that visited her often and kept in touch.

There are a few things that I just know about the world beyond and one is that Binki is sitting next to God, for I know God smiles on those who help his precious whales.