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Film on Indigenous People's Connection to Wolf Calls for Endangered Listing

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021   

HELENA, Mont. - With the gray wolf imperiled across the country, a new film explores the cultural connection between indigenous people and wolves.

"FAMILY" is a short film produced by the Global Indigenous Council. Rain, the film's writer and director, said it encapsulates the ancient connection between human beings and wolves through the prism of the first people of the land. He said the wolf taught the first people many things, including survival and spiritual knowledge.

"Like the first people, the wolf was removed from the land for cows and industry, by slaughter and what might be termed eviction," he said. "Today, we have an opportunity to come together to begin a healing process. Returning the wolf to these lands is part of that, because we must return the balance."

The film comes as a number of states have passed wolf-hunting legislation - including in Montana, where the
population could be reduced by 80%. The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission has opened the public comment period on its proposals for hunting, snaring and trapping through July 26.

In neighboring Idaho, lawmakers approved a bill that could reduce the population by 90%, and in Wisconsin last February, an approved wolf hunt resulted in the death of 216 wolves in 60 hours, exceeding the state's quota. The hunts are possible because the gray wolf was removed from the endangered species list under President Donald Trump. Rain said the laws that have popped up since demonstrate the urgency for Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to vacate the delisting rule, and for "Haaland to incorporate the tenets of the Wolf Treaty that over 120 tribal nations have signed, which really provides a blueprint for wolf management going forward."

The Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project and other groups also are encouraging Haaland to meet with a tribal delegation on the Wolf Treaty and restore protections.

Rain said he sees this issue as part of the conversation the country is having on racial justice.

"The ESA wolf delisting and the impending decimation of the wolf by what will be ostensibly white trophy hunters isn't simply an environmental or wildlife issue," he said. "it is a social justice issue. It tears at the heart of many indigenous cultures."

Since its release last week online, the short film has received more than 120,000 views.


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