Reznet News

Reporting from Native America

May 30, 2016
Latest post: March 20 5:07 pm

Delisting wolves affects tribal customs

By Santee Ross, University of Montana

Growing up I listened to stories like the three little pigs and little red riding hood with a conflicted perspective.

As a young girl I loved those fairy tales but as a little Indian girl I knew the wolf was being portrayed unfairly. I was taught wolves are a sacred animal from the time I had grass stains and ashy knees.

But according to white ranchers the wolf is a bloodthirsty animal and they all need to be wiped out. It’s ironic that those out for the blood of wolves are calling the wolf bloodthirsty.

The wolf isn’t evil like modern society likes to paint them.

The Ojibwe in Wisconsin know what I’m talking about and are taking action to prevent wolf hunting in their part of the country.

The wolf issue has been a long debated one for the Rocky Mountain region and there are many perspectives.

I personally hate to see or hear about the killing of wolves. Wolves are very important to my family and they are treated as extended family members.

In May last year the wolf was delisted as an endangered species in Montana and by September, they were a part of hunting season regulations.

During that hunting season my fists were clenched and my breathing came in short bursts.

I remember having to endure reports of about a hundred wolves murdered. All I kept picturing were trophy hunters shamelessly smirking over these dead wolves.

I had to count to 10 and then some but I eventually calmed down but the pain of hearing those reports are still there.

Back home in Wyoming wolves managed to stay on the endangered species list but recently they are attempting to follow in Montana’s footsteps.

In October last year Wyoming moved for the motion of delisting wolves from the endangered species list and are currently working on hunting regulation should the delisting become approved.

If this motion is passed I don’t know if counting to 10 will keep me calm.

Listening to the wolves howl in the mountains is what makes my home really my home. I don’t want white ranchers or trigger-happy hunters having the chance to kill what I hold sacred.

So now that I’m older, stories like little red riding hood no longer conflict me--they’re just one side to the story.

Santee Ross (Lakota/Hopi) is from Lander, Wyo.