NMU Native American Students Association, NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team Work to Protect Wolves
(Marquette, Michigan) - Leading 2013 campus petition signing events to save Michigan gray wolves from being hunted is the Northern Michigan University Native American Students Association.
NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team
Native American Students Association (NASA)
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected must get 161,305 signatures from registered voters by March 27 for a Nov. 2014 referendum.
An all-day petition drive with numerous NMU student organizations is planned for March 20, 2013.
Organizers hope to have Michigan Secretary of State reps on hand to register people to vote.
"This is (about) hatred" of wolves, said Adam Robarge, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Upper Peninsula coord.
"I see zero reasons" for a wolf hunt, Robarge said. Wolves and deer have evolved "with each other for thousands of years."
Wolves "just got off the endangered species list so to hunt them seems premature," said NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team member Adam Magnuson, 21, of Marquette. "It is interesting that people want to hunt an animal that they rarely see."
The interfaith NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team is "standing by the Native American tribes because it is so important to them,” said Magnuson. "We need to defend what they (Native Americans) believe in.”
Catholic St. Francis of Assisi "befriended a wolf" and is "often depicted in images with a wolf,” said Tom Merkel, NMU Catholic Campus Ministry peer minister at St. Michael Parish.
NMU EarthKeepers II team is "standing with the native tribes up here," Merkel said. "The wolf is one of their religious symbols and we have to protect that.”
Bingner said the wolf “isn't our enemy" and is "closer to being something like our brother."
Hannah Vallier and Amanda Weinert are NASA co-presidents and citizens of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
"I am ma'iingan-doodem so I am wolf clan – and we believe that we are related to wolves and we are kin,” said Vallier. "If I killed a wolf it would be almost like me killing my own brother."
Wolves and humans have similarities including "we are both family-orientated," Vallier said. “Our mothers as humans are just as protective of our children as the wolves are to their pups.”
Wolves "are important to tribal people" and are significant in Anishinaabe heritage and culture, said Amanda Weinert, 21.
Weinert explained a traditional story from elders that "the first Anishinaabe man was lonely and asked for a companion."
"Gitchi Manitou, the Great Spirit, gave him a wolf or ma'iingan," Weinert said. "They went on a journey to name all the plants and animals."
After the journey, "they were told they could no longer be companions" but would stay connected and live parallel lives, said Weinert, a Garden, Michigan native.
Weinert said today Native Americans and wolves continue to "live parallel lives."
"The connections between native people and wolves" includes both were relocated, slaughtered and misunderstood, said Weinert, an NMU senior with a major in metalsmithing/jewelry with minors in science and Native American studies.
Weinert said the thought of a wolf hunt in Michigan makes her "sad and is very distressing" as she feels if the hunt starts people will "go overboard and shoot them whenever."
“Wolves deserve to be saved for their own existence,” Robarge said.
NMU senior Max Wojciechowski said wolves must be a "protected species because traditionally it's a very sacred animal and its not supposed to be hunted."
“It coincides with my traditional values to try and protect the wolves,” said Wojciechowski, a NASA member and a native of McHenry, Ill. in the Chicago suburbs.
Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed a law making the wolf a game animal.
A Feb. 2013 lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar by the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Animals and Their Environment, Help Our Wolves Live, and Born Free USA.
Michigan has 687 wolves.
Nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute
NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team:
NMU Native American Students Association (NASA)
Adam Robarge, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected U.P. Coord.
EarthKeepers II/Cedar Tree Institute media advisor