Members of the Chumash tribe and several other Malibu residents took part in a ceremony this week to honor a dead whale that washed ashore on Little Dume.
The 40-foot male Fin whale came ashore on Monday at the exclusive Malibu beach and immediately got stuck in between some rocks. Researchers determined on Tuesday that the whale died of injuries from a ship strike following a necropsy, a term describing an autopsy on animals.
"This young male got hit and killed for no fault of his own," said Chumash ceremonial leader Mati Waiya. "We have to remember there is a family out there that is going to miss this beautiful creature.”
Waiya said the ceremony, which took place at sunset Tuesday and involved a sacred fire, meant to honor and give respect to the whale.
Waiya's wife, Luhui Isha Waiya said the scene of the cut open whale from the necropsy was shocking.
"It was a little disturbing to say the least because they were a little extreme in taking the body apart," Luhui Waiya said. "They took his eyes out. They took other organs. His intestines were all there right toward the sand side, just strewn right outside of its body. They took big chunks of the flesh, different parts."
As agencies are currently dodging taking action to remove the whale's rotting carcas from the beach, she hopes that in the future the Chumash are included in the conversation. She said she has reached out to California State Parks and L.A. County officials this week.
"As a community it might be a good idea to think together rather than apart. In this modern world, we are often pushed to think as individuals rather than the collective. We end up thinking what is best for me rather than what is best for the whole," she said.
Luhui Waiya said a ceremony was performed to give the whale the respect it deserved.
"We sang to it. Just giving the respect of this creative deserve. These are our ocean relatives," she said.
In the tribe's creation story, the Chumash crossed over a rainbow bridge from Santa Cruz Island to the mainland.
"They were warned not to look down from the rainbow bridge as they were crossing. They couldn't help themselves. They look down, got dizzy and fell," Luhui Waiya said.
As the people plunged into the ocean, they were turned into dolphins.
"Our brother and sisters are the dolphins. From our creation story, those are the brother and sisters in the sea," she said.
Both Luhui and Mati Waiya said they hope the whale is not left on the beach, where it has become a spectacle for the media and passerby.
"I hope they don’t just let it linger there. It was beautiful when it landed and then it gets mutilated and they don’t even take it out," Mati Waiya said.