Belinda Bardwell in Native Condition. Discussion »
Yesterday, in Room 405 of the Michigan State Capitol Building, it was announced that the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected coalition will be working hard over the next couple months in order to obtain 225,000 signatures of registered voters in Michigan in hopes to get a referendum onto the November 2014 ballot.
Protecting Michigan Wolves in Front of the Michigan State Capitol
Several Michigan Indian tribes have joined the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected coalition.
The fact remains that there are reports of around 670 wolves that inhabit Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which is not enough to warrant a legal hunt.
There hasn't been enough research done on the population to see if it could tolerate a hunt. Much of the argument in support of the newly legalized hunt has been from the farmers, who say their livestock is in danger of these animals. Truth be told, these farmers already are given legal right to protect their livestock from attack by means of grave force. What we have here is a game of dirty politics, shown by the swift speed and misinformation that was behind House Bill 1350. It was quickly passed through the Senate Natural Resource Committee, quicker through full Senate and then off to the House. It was signed into law by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder last month.
As a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and also a member of the Tribal Council, I was happy to see other tribal support in opposition of this legislation today. Aaron Payment, chairman of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe spoke about our cultural and spiritual connection to the wolf; he was followed by former Chairman Derek Bailey from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, who spoke on behalf of his Clan, Miingen - the wolf. The tribes in Michigan need to take the "call to action" seriously. This coalition is in need of 225,000 signatures by late March, they are also in need of volunteers and places to collect signatures.
For more information on this coalition and the Steering Committee, their position or to volunteer, visit keepwolvesprotected.com.
Belinda Bardwell is a tribal councilor of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. The Tribe is based in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
posted January 23, 2013 7:57 am est