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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Members of Michigan American Indian tribes are increasingly nervous about what's happening to an important piece of their heritage and culture — the Great Lakes gray wolf.............Indian tribes are among the most vocal opponents of a proposed hunting season for wolves in Michigan............... They've joined the Humane Society and other wildlife advocates in a petition drive to try to put the issue on a statewide ballot in 2014 and to block legislation passed in December last year that classified wolves as a game species........For Indians, blocking the Wolf hunt is just not an animal rights or political issue..............The Wolf is part of their religious Creation Story------It is said that "in the beginning of time, the Creator made Anishinaabe, the original man, and his brother Ma'iingan, the wolf"....... "Together, they walked the Earth naming all of the other creatures on the planet"........... "There came a time when the Creator said the two must live apart but warned that whatever happened to one would happen to the other".......... "To this day, the wolf howls in mourning for the loss of his friend, Anishinaabe"...............And legal precedent is on the side of the tribes in seeking to block the hunt-------The Treaty of Washington which was signed in 1836 was an agreement between the Ottawa and Chippewa nations and the United States in which the Indians agreed to cede 13 million acres of tribal land to the U.S. government — a move that paved the way for Michigan to become a state in 1837................... In return, Indians were granted unlimited hunting, gathering and fishing rights to the land.............. In 2007, the treaty was strengthened in a court-mandated consent decree between the Department of Natural Resources and the tribes............ The agreement requires the DNR to manage the state's natural resources based on "sound scientific management" and to coordinate their efforts with the tribes...............Will sound science and the word of law be enough to stop the wolf hunt or will the tribes once again be snookered by the "forked tongue" of the U.S. and Michigan Governments????????????

Saving the wolves:

 Michigan Indians 

fight wolf hunt;Louis  Knott Ahern

Jimmie Mitchell keeps a screen saver on
 his computer, a photo of children he never
 knew in a place he's never been.
It's an image of students at
 the Carlisle Indian Industrial
School, a Pennsylvania
boarding school founded
 in 1879 where American
 Indian children were sent
 to learn how to assimilate
 into a white world.
Mitchell — a member of the
 Little River Band of Ottawa
 Indians tribe — said his aunts
 and uncles were among the
 thousands of Indian children
who were taken from their parents
 over a 40-year period and placed
 in boarding schools such as
 There, the children were forced to
 forget their language, their culture
 and even their native names.
"It breaks my heart," said Mitchell,
 who heads his tribal government's
 natural resources department.
 "My uncle is still alive. When I try
to speak to him in our language,
 he says, 'I understand everything
you're saying to me. But I can't,
 the words get stuck in my throat.' "
It would take nearly a century —
 until the 1978 passage of the
American Indian Religious
Freedom Act — for native
culture to enjoy a widespread
resurgence, Mitchell said.
"You could be proud to be an
 Indian again," he said, "rather
 than feeling like a second-class
 citizen or not even human at all."
That long-fought pride is why he
 and members of other Michigan
 American Indian tribes are
 increasingly nervous about
 what's happening to another
 important piece of their heritage
 and culture — the Great Lakes
Indian tribes are among the most
vocal opponents of a proposed
 hunting season for wolves in
. They've joined the Humane Society
 and other wildlife advocates in a
petition drive to try to put the issue
on a statewide ballot in 2014 and
 to block legislation passed in
 December last year that classified
 wolves as a game species.
The Keep Michigan Wolves
 campaign hopes to gather 225,000
 signatures by March 27. To date,
they've gathered nearly 200,000.
Proponents of a wolf hunt say the
 animals have thrived well beyond
 the original population goal of 200
 when they were placed on the
 endangered species list in 1973.
 With 700 to 1,000 wolves in
 Michigan today, Upper Peninsula
residents say wolves are coming
 too close to homes and towns
 and are attacking livestock.
Wolf advocates, however, say the
 wolf population in Michigan is still
too fragile to be hunted. It's been just
over one year since the animals were
removed from the federal endangered
 species list, said Jill Fritz, Michigan
 director of the Humane Society o
f the United States. She said the
 animals have not had enough time
 to maintain and thrive outside federal
For Indians, the issue goes much deeper.

Back to creation

In the beginning of time, the Creator
 made Anishinaabe, the original 
 and his brother Ma'iingan, the wolf.
 Together, they walked the Earth
all of the other creatures on the 
There came a time when the 
said the two must live apart but
that whatever happened to one 
 happen to the other. To this day,
 wolf howls in mourning for the 
loss of
 his friend, Anishinaabe.
The connection between animal
 man environment and the human
, are prevelent in nearly all indigenous
 creation stories.
For Michigan's native populations,
however, the wolf is a central player
 in not only their past, but also their
 future, said Aaron Payment,
of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of
There is a direct parallel, Payment
 between the eradication of wolves
Michigan and the decline of its native
Though wolves once roamed every
 of Michigan, they were all but wiped
 out in
the Lower Peninsula and only a handful
 remained in the U.P. by the early part
 of the 20th century because of
systematic hunting by white settlers.
At the same time, Michigan's native
 became impoverished as they were
 off their land, their population a fraction
 what it had been at the time Europeans
They can never let it happen again,
 Mitchell said.
"We are so connected to our
he said. "Those plants and animals
 are a part of who we are, a cultural
 dimension of how
 we exist. Having them around us,
 our culture
will flourish. When they are absent,
our culture
falls into impoverishment."

Legal remedies

Tribal leaders say they have more
 than a
cultural stake in the wolf, however.
They also believe the state has a
obligation to give Michigan's tribes
equal say in the management of
 the wolf
and other wildlife species because
 of a
 treaty signed in 1836.
The Treaty of Washington was an
 agreement between the Ottawa
and Chippewa nations and the
 United States in which the Indians
agreed to cede 13 million acres of
 tribal land to the U.S. government —
 a move that paved the way for
Michigan to become a state in
1837. In return, Indians were
 unlimited hunting, gathering and
 rights to the land. In 2007, the treaty
 strengthened in a court-mandated
decree between the Department of
l Resources and the tribes.
 The agreement
requires the DNR to manage
 the state's
 natural resources based on
 "sound scientific
management" and to coordinate
 their efforts
with the tribes.
Payment said the state is not living
 up to that
 mandate with the wolf issue. It's
 not enough,
 he said, that tribal leaders have
been invited
 to speak at public hearings before
 Legislature or the Natural Resources
Further, he said the DNR has not
adequate scientific evidence that
 cannot sustain the current wolf
 without human conflict.
"What is the biological basis for
 a hunt,"
he asked.

Still in talks

State officials hope to answer
 that question
 and more in the next few months
 a series of public hearings and
 with tribal leaders. DNR officials
 are in
Marquette this week meeting with
 representatives of Michigan's
12 Indian tribes.
DNR tribal coordinator Dennis
 Knapp said
they're doing everything required
of them by
not only the 2007 consent decree,
but also a
 2002 Tribal-State Accord, which
 requires each
 side to work together on issues
 that would
significantly impact either government.
Since the wolf hunt is still in the
 idea stage —
no decision has been made or
 even officially
 proposed for action by the Natura
 Commission — the state has not
 violated the
 terms of the consent decree,
 Knapp said.
"The process is not at the point
 where a
 proposal is on the table," he said.
 we're consulting without specifics
 at this
point. But we are inviting all
Michigan tribes
for consultation."
Knapp added that tribes
were also
represented in a roundtable
that crafted
 the state's current Wolf
Management Plan
 and signed off on the plan's
 call for a wolf
hunt should the need arise.
The Wolf Management Plan
 calls for two
 hunting options — a statewide
 hunt like a deer season or a
 small hunt
 designed to help specific
regions dea
l with wolves that are causing
It's the second type of hunt
 that's being
 considered by the state's Natural
Resources Commission.
That's not much comfort to
 tribal leaders.
"Whatever befalls one will befall
 the other,"
 said Mitchell. "There is a
correlation. As
 the tribes began to heal, the
wolf began to
heal. Do we risk the possibility
 of the
population being hunted beyond
and lose them again?"

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