Genevieve Valentine | WGLT

Genevieve Valentine

By 1851, the bowhead whales, it seems, had unionized.

To the Iñupiaq, Yupik, and Chukchi people who lived on the land flanking the Bering Strait, the whales were beings with souls who granted their deaths to worthy hunters — not to the wasteful or greedy — and subsistence hunting along the coast killed a hundred or so a year. To the American open-sea vessels that swarmed the waters in the 19th century, the whales were products, killed in the thousands every year for oil and baleen to feed the endless commercial appetites back home.

Sometimes history offers a marker of how far we've come. Sometimes, there's He-Man.