Breaking! Six Native American Tribes Sue The State Of Wisconsin For Treaty Violations Of Planned November Wolf Hunt
Earlier this week, six Native American tribes filed a lawsuit against the state of Wisconsin for its planned November wolf hunt. The tribes say that it violates their treaty rights. The Wisconsin Natural Resource Board approved a quota to kill 300 wolves in the upcoming November hunt, more than double the quota of 130 determined by the Department of Natural Resources. A recommendation that is not supported by scientific data and analysis.
The news follows a disastrous hunt that occurred in February of this year. The Ojibwe tribes asserted a treaty-protected right to half of the wolves in Wisconsin’s ceded territory in order to protect those wolves from Wisconsin’s rushed and ill-advised hunt. In just three days, hunters used packs of dogs, snares, and leg-hold traps which killed 218 wolves, exceeding both the state and tribal quotas, and killing up to a third of the state’s wolf population.
Earthjustice represents the tribal nations Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, and St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.
“In our treaty rights, we are supposed to share with the state 50-50 in our resources. We’re feeling that we are not getting our due diligence because of the slaughter of wolves in February,” John Johnson, Sr., President of Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, said in a statement. “The out-of-state hunters are petitioning the courts just so they can hunt, not to protect resources.”
This new lawsuit accompanies an existing challenge by Earthjustice to the Trump administration’s decision to remove wolves from the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made its decision against the advice of scientists who say wolves are still functionally extinct in the vast majority of the places they once inhabited and need continued federal protections in order to survive and recover.
On September 14th, groups representing nearly 200 tribes signed a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland demanding the restoration of Endangered Species Act protections for wolves nationwide.
“The Ojibwe understand that a healthy wolf population is critical to a healthy ecosystem. The bands have asserted their treaty-protected rights to their share of the wolves to ensure that a healthy wolf population is protected in Wisconsin.” noted Gussie Lord, Earthjustice Managing Attorney of Tribal Partnerships. “The state trampled the tribes’ rights, and we are in court to try to make sure it does not happen again.”
Traditional ecological knowledge and western science both confirm that wolves have a legitimate and important ecological role on the landscape. Scientists and the general public have joined the tribes in moving beyond the historical myths that have driven wolf persecution in Wisconsin. The tribes assert that some members of the Wisconsin Natural Resource Board cling to a false narrative that not only weakens the health of ecosystems, but ignores the tribe’s treaty reserved rights.
Help urge Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to stop wolf hunts and reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for wolves nationwide, HERE!
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