Native American tribes release a short film to oppose wolf hunting
“Secretary Haaland, please return Endangered Species Act protections to the wolf,” is the closing message of a powerful new film, “Family,” released today that ends with the stark warning, “Before it’s too late.” The Global Indigenous Council has released “Family” as a part of a campaign to restore federal protections to wolves across the continental United States.
Directed by critically-acclaimed filmmaker Rain (“Somebody’s Daughter”/”Say Her Name”) and narrated by award-winning actress Crystle Lightning (Trickster/Yellowstone), the short film provides insight into how wolves are foundational to Indigenous cultures and how the Trump Administration’s removal of federal protections from wolves severely undermines tribal rights.
“Family” appeals to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to reverse President Trump and relist the wolf under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Many of the country’s most influential environmental NGOs issued a joint statement today supporting the film and its objective.
“Leaving the Trump Administration’s wolf delisting rule in place contradicts President Biden’s January 26, 2021 ‘Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships’ as the vast array of tribes impacted by Trump’s decision were not consulted,” the release highlights.
In a recent interview on Brave Wilderness, President Biden said, “I’m in” when asked about protections for wolves. The President also articulated the message conveyed by “Family”
Crystle Lightning (First Nations Hobbema/Enoch), who in May won the Canadian Screen Awards category for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role (Trickster), has stressed that state laws aimed at culling surviving wolf populations by up to 90 percent have grave implications for tribes.
“We must not let state, provincial, and federal governments continue to define issues as ‘environmental’ or ‘wildlife’ when they are cultural. These are social justice issues. What is happening to the wolf is a social justice issue for Indigenous people. The wolf has a vital role in so many of our cultures – in our clans, our songs, our ceremonies. Yet, our voices are ignored. Whenever the voices of any people are silenced, it is suppression. We are the first people of this land but always the last to be heard,” Lightning said.
“Family” also draws attention to “The Wolf: A Treaty of Cultural and Environmental Survival,” which has previously been described as “a blueprint for future wolf management.” The treaty, signed by over 120 Tribes and numerous highly respected Indigenous spiritual leaders, authors, orators, and water protectors, has a strong emphasis on Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and an adherence to the Indigenous Rights of Nature (IRON).
Chairperson Aaron Payment of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians was among the first tribal leaders to sign treaty with Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Chairman Russell “Buster” Attebery of the Karuk Nation. The who’s who of signatories includes Winona LaDuke, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, and Tara Houska.
“As tribal people, we, like our brother and sister, the wolf, have experienced extermination and myth making. The modern-day state government sanctioned extermination efforts say more about humanity’s alienation from the natural world than about the wolf,” added Rodgers.