SEATTLE -- Federal officials are now supporting a Native American tribe's decades-long request to resume whale hunts off the coast of Washington state.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday announced its proposal to allow the Makah Tribe of Washington to hunt and harvest one to three gray whales annually over a 10-year period.
The Makah tribe has historically harvested stranded whales and also hunted whales, but hasn't done so for 20 years.
It has treaty rights to hunt whales, but last did so in 1999 as it faced legal challenges from animal rights activists.
The latest proposal is the strongest federal support the tribe has garnered, though it now faces a hearing in August with an administrative law judge.
The remote Makah reservation is about 120 miles northwest of Seattle.