fbpx
 

WASHINGTON — Tribal leaders from throughout Indian Country are putting pressure on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) to restore gray wolves to the federal government’s Endangered Species List

More than 200 tribal leaders representing tribes and advocacy organizations sent a letter to Haaland on Tuesday demanding emergency relisting of gray wolves.

Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.

Today, the gray wolf is functionally extinct in more than 80 percent of its historic range, with only 6,000 surviving in the United States. Wolves figure prominently in the folklore of nearly every Native American tribe. In most Native cultures, the wolf is considered a sacred medicine being associated with courage, strength, loyalty, and success at hunting, according to the letter.  

The leaders want Haaland to overturn a 2020 Trump administration decision to delist gray wolves from the Endangered Species List, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency that operates within the Interior Department

In the letter, the leaders urge Haaland to immediately act upon the emergency petition filed on May 26, 2021 to relist the gray wolf as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The emergency petition would grant temporary protections to wolves for 240 days.

“The failure to take action here, thus ignoring the concerns of tribal nations, would signal to Indian Country that President Biden’s promises to Indian Country are hollow,” the letter states.

“The Trump Administration and his sycophant Interior Secretary Bernardt wrongfully delisted our sacred brother “Maegun’ without consultation with tribal nations and without any clear demonstration of related science that includes wolf habitat,” Sault Ste. Marie of Chippewa Indians Chairperson Aaron Payment said to Native News Online. “I am giving the benefit of the doubt that Secretary Haaland cannot simply undo an administration action of a previous administration. However, I am looking to Secretary Haaland to care about the wolves as much as she stated during her Senate confirmation hearing that she, ‘cares about the bears.’”

“If this comes about as a pre-conference during litigation or some emergency and temporary measure while Consultation is revisited, then wonderful,” Payment, who also serves as first vice president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), continued.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier wants to see more than mere lip service to tribal consultation by the Biden administration.

“The Biden administration has given lip service to questions of tribal sovereignty, with an executive order mandating tribal consultation. We urge the administration to honor its commitment by adopting the emergency wolf relisting measure so that sovereign tribal governments can be consulted in the question of permanent relisting or delisting,” Frazier said.

[RELATED: Tribes Appeal to Secretary Haaland to Reverse Trump on Stripping Wolf Protections in New Film, 'Family']

 “By delisting the wolf without the consent and consultation of tribal Nations, the federal government continued a pattern of ignoring tribal sovereignty, skipping tribal consultation when convenient for the trustee, and violating sacred treaty and trust obligations.  We ask that Secretary Haaland act on our request to meet with her, and honor treaty obligations towards Tribal Nations by granting emergency protection for the wolf,” President Andy Werk, Jr. of the Ft. Belknap Indian Community Council added.

The letter also requests a meeting with Secretary Haaland to discuss these matters. A source who asked not to be identified told Native News Online that a meeting is set with Haaland during the last week of September to discuss the issue.

More Stories Like This

Tribal Business News Round Up: Sept. 26
A Year Later, Myron Dewey’s Family Waits for Justice
Two National Native American Organizations to Address International Trade for Indian Country at World Trade Organization Forum in Geneva
Native News Weekly (September 25, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola Hits the Ground Running: Her First Bill Introduced Clears Committee Two Days Later

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected]