Against the steadfast opposition of American Indians in the state, Minnesota will hold its first managed wolf hunting and trapping season this fall. As a result, a cultural clash is brewing between state officials and Indians, who revere wolves.

“The wolf is part of our creation story, and therefore many Ojibwe have a strong spiritual connection to the wolf,” Karen Diver, chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, wrote in a letter to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) this spring, according to the Star Tribune. “Many Ojibwe believe the fate of the wolf is closely tied to the fate of all the Ojibwe. For these reasons the Fond du Lac Band feels the hunting and trapping of wolves is inappropriate.”

On December 21, 2011, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that gray wolf populations in the Great Lakes region had recovered and no longer required the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a final rule in the Federal Register removing wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in portions of adjoining states, from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife. The rule removing ESA protection for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes became effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Wolves total more than 4,000 animals in the three core recovery states in the western Great Lakes area and have exceeded USFWS recovery goals. Minnesota’s population is estimated at 2,921 wolves, while an estimated 687 wolves live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and another 782 in Wisconsin. Each state, with tribal consultation, was supposed to develop a plan to manage wolves after federal protection was removed.

Steve Mortensen of the Leech Lake Band’s Division of Resource Management noted that once the wolf was removed from the ESA protection, its management returned to the state and tribes. But he told the Star Tribune that the state hasn’t discussed its wolf management plan with bands.

“How can you ignore governments that have co-management authority of much of the wolf range and come up with a plan without their input?” he asked.

With a healthy, delisted wolf population, though, many in Minnesota support a limited hunting and trapping season, and this spring the state legislature authorized the hunt on the recommendation of the DNR.

“We understand wolves to be educators, teaching us about hunting and working together in extended family units,” said James Zorn, executive administrator for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, which represents 11 Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The commission opposes wolf hunts. “Wolves exemplify perseverance, guardianship, intelligence and wisdom,” Zorn said.

Ed Boggess, DNR fish and wildlife division director, told the Star Tribune the agency has tried to be inclusive and has had discussions with bands about its wolf management plans. He said that the delisting returned whatever authority the bands and state originally had but that it didn’t convey new co-management authority to the bands. He also spoke to the issue of tribal cultural concerns.

“We recognize and respect those cultural views, but when it comes to managing wildlife, under these treaties and rights that were conveyed, all we can deal with are issues of conservation, public safety and public health,” Boggess told the Star Tribune. “Cultural issues are for each culture to address as they see fit.”

That doesn’t sit well in Indian country. “There is considerable concern about taking wolves for sport,” Mortensen wrote to DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Many tribal members feel that wolves are their brothers and they should be respected as such.”

Look for continued pressure to stop the wolf hunt from Indian country this summer as Minnesota’s plans develop.

Responses to "Minnesota Ignores Native Americans, Allows Wolf Hunting"

  1. Anonymous says:

    What is wr ong with this country. The Native Americans are a lot smarter than us white folk. I will have to send a email to protest this.

  2. Anonymous says:

    IF THE WOLVES CAN BE HUNTED BY MAN, Then why can't the wolves hunt the hunters ? Why can't the friends of wolves hunt the hunters ? What if another Wolf hunter " mistakens " another hunter and shoots Him ??? What if that rifle can't be found and the shootings continue ??? Would the Hunters be so " gane " to hunt the wolves ??? I'm not so sure they would do that !!!!

  3. Ernestine Shemwell says:

    It is Native American land and we said NO! Think that makes it poaching. In Africa they kill poachers on site. Why can't we??? They only do this because they know wolves and the original people can be friends. They kill because they are haters and killers of all things. We know the value of the wolf. They make up reasons to justify the things they do. Their time would be better spent cleaning up the water, hunting the killers of other humans, helping others but no they are an angry lot and must kill to show their dominance over an innocent animal.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wondering what the bands management plan is. How many wolves can the area support before the wolves are starving?

  5. Sydney Brooks says:

    Western culture is constantly (and arbitrarily) selecting recovery numbers that equal a "healthy" population. These animals are never safe from hunters and poachers. Neither are deer, elk, bear, coyotes, Native Americans, or any other inconvenient group. Western cultures do not know what healthy is or means. We (myself included) are the sickest of people in mind, body and spirit. And I still try to not be so "white".

  6. Anonymous says:

    again and again in this world, the ordinary person or people are not listened to, all governments do what they want, regardless of the consequences, will they not be happy untill every animal is extinct, I hope that if enough people in america make a fuss, that they will listen, we CAN BUT HOPE..

  7. If I own land I can prohibit hunting! If the Natives own the land they should as a council or community be able to by legal ordinance prohibit hunting!

  8. Anonymous says:

    How awful. The wolf has a right to live here in peace and NOT be killed just for the fun of it. This is so very wrong.

  9. Its about time that America woke up and listened to the native americans...our fore fathers did not listen and i think that non native americans for the most part reveere the tribal ways now that we have had time and space to see what our fore fathers did and how wrong it was...we need to listen and respect them first then we need to put into practice as much as we can of thier beliefs about the planet...we have gone so far from where we should have! What bothers me the most,other than not even being able to read "Wounded Knee", cant really explain, but why are the treaties still not being given to them, we need to give back to them those things that were promised and then not given or just taken!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is and act of Treason the federal or state government has No authority on Indian Land. Therefore anybody caught hunting on Indian Land can be punished by Indian Law. As for the Politician that passed this should be held for treason by the people of U.S. and the Indian Nation

  11. where can we complain about this or who should we contact there a petition?

  12. Cyndi C says:

    Once again history repeats itself . . . treaties and promises being broken. For shame . . . it's high time promises made to the Native American community are upheld and honored but apparently that is asking entirely to much from a so called greatful nation.

  13. Anonymous says:

    If it is Native land why can the government allow people that are not Native to hunt on tribal land?Does the Ojibwe tribe have the right to protect their land? I think we all should stand with the Natives. We need somewhere to get together and make our voices heard.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the tribes rule that hunting wolves on their land is illegal with those caught carrying a gun or traps and if caught hunting or with wolf carcasses are trespassing and they are punishable by Indian law what ever they deem the punishment to be.

  15. With a country that was established for white men only, and the snow ball effect has enlarge so great of destruction along the way of the past 200 yrs, how can we begin to undo all the corruption that the European's have already, when they are on a one way street of destruction going at 100 miles per hour..that snow ball effect also rolled into it some apples along the way...apples that don't speak up for themselves and scoff at non status First Nation People that have seen both sides of the coin, it's all about money, money, money...the white mans god had now become every man's god except for the chosen few...and you know who we are...Don't get squished up in that giant snowball effect of European's way of living and killing anything or anybody that get's of their way of making more money...You know what it is all about , our Prophets warned us and here we are and it may to late to turn back now...out of control Snowball of Destruction across this beautiful country..that once belonged to a earth friendly Peoples..but now we cry for the death will come to even the weakest to the elite..and nothing will endure this one way train of destruction, only Divine intervention can change this pickle we have gotten ourselves into and of us that were forced into the destruction feel too weak to regain what was once a respectful ours....Makwa/Abenaki

  16. The same people running the government believe there are too many people in the world. Time is now to unite! Mateo.

  17. Sandy Blanco-Agidowahya (Wolf Sister) says:

    In the time before memory. the first animal to come into the circle of the first men's campfire to share his company, was the wolf. Consequently, he became domesticated and became the dog. He shares our food, our warmth, our company and guards our property, our families and our own persons.They hunt with us as well. sniff out bombs and hunt down bad guys for the police. We forget that it is the structure of the wolf pack and structure of the wolf society that made this possible. This is why we Native people revere the wolf as a teacher and a brother and many of us are clan brothers and sisters to them.We know better than to go out and start hunting without need for food or clothing. This was the understanding between the two legged and the four legged.Breaking this agreement is just like breaking a treaty between nations. As all of the Native people know all too sadly, this nation is lousy at keeping treaties. This action must be stopped, because as the fate of the animals goes, so must the fate of men follow.

  18. Bernard says:

    The wolves themselves will only breed while the food source is plentiful they will not starve, because unlike man they have the sense to stop reproducing if prey becomes scarce.
    Also the Native Americans should have the right to manage there own land and wildlife without interference from the people that are ignorant about the ways of nature.

  19. Anonymous says:

    My heart goes out to the indian people.Why can't we let them manage their on land. If memory serves me right the indians shared their food with the pilgrims when they first came to america.If it wasn't for them we might not be here now

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why do you hunt such a beautiful animal, oh of course you americans just like to kill them for fun. The native americans have every right to protect the animals on their land, or the small piece you have given them, being as they were on the land long before you. I have met many native people when in Canada, and they are the nicest people i have met in a long time, and who respect the earth and its animals, maybe its time you did

  21. Gill says:

    My comment is above, but i pressed the wrong button to publish, i have nothing to hide, so have put my name to this one

  22. Amanda says:

    Wolves are amazing creatures. They are beautiful, strong, intelligent, protective...the list goes on. They should be protected not hunted for sport. I say the people who hunt them are poachers and should be dealt with accordingly. This world is so blind, the Native Americans see! There has to be a way to protect the wolves so they do not end up under the ESA again. They have repopulated and are running strong, LET THEM RUN!!!!! LET THEM BE FREE!

  23. Anonymous says:

    My head never stops spinning when I hear the "government" allowing such hunts. I blind and ignorant are these people to kill such a beautiful and amazing creature? Why in God's name can't the Indian Nation have a say on what is to be done on the land they own?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Killing for sport.........I do think they should have to eat what they kill..maybe then they would rethink their sport..What a waste..Need a sanctuary free from hunters..If the Indian Nation owns the land they should be able to protect their wolf packs there..Should has never worked for the people...It has caused them to understand the liars that are supposed to be ones listening to us all..So sad knowing people hunt for fun.......Shameful...

  25. Anonymous says:

    Animals are so much more intelligent than humans. Long after we have destroyed ourselves and much of our world, the animals will return and once again rule the earth.

  26. lynikins says:

    it is very sad to see such a beautiful animal destroyed for man's pleasure.Some day I am ashamed to be human.

  27. Anonymous says:

    when are these pepole going to learn, leave the wolfes alone, they are a beautiful creature, why do human want to kill everything,

  28. Margo says:

    The wolves lived here with the Native peoples for thousands of years before Europeans invaded. Wolves and Natives lived side by side with the buffalo as meat for each. Europeans killed off the buffalo,the Natives, leaving the wolves that attacked cattle and sheep. The wolves then passed the way of the buffalo and white man was happy. About 50 years ago it was decided to re-introduce wolves to these areas to control deer, moose, and elk. Now the wolf is no longer needed in the amount that they have grown to. So the Land Management idiots decide on hunting and trapping. They forget the hierarchy of the wolf pack, the "Boss pair" are the only breeders in the pack and should they be shot the pack falls into chaos.The Boss Pair are the teachers and if they are gone, chaos. Sadly the Govt. will do as they please unless we, as their payrollers say NO!

  29. Anonymous says:

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD. People kill and kill and do not seem to care at all anymore .It is like somone said before ..I feel ashamed to be "human".And what I really do not understand is ...that EVEN GOVERMENTS ALLOW IT!!!!!!!!

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