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Brother Wolf: Native Americans say upcoming wolf hunt is premature and disrespectful

On July 17, in a conference room at a Holiday Inn in Stevens Point, Ojibwe tribal elder Joe Rose stood before the state Natural Resources Board at a hearing about the state’s inaugural wolf hunting season to tell a story. It didn’t mention quotas, depredation or trapping.

Instead, Rose, 77, who has lived on the Bad River Reservation along the Lake Superior shore since his birth — land he and other tribal members share with four wolf packs — told the story of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe ancestors) and ma’iingan, the wolf — a story of creation that forged a bond between the two.

The story is one in which ma’iingan becomes man’s guide, and eventually a brother, as he takes him around Mother Earth to name all living things.

In the story, the Great Spirit warns man that should the wolf some day no longer have a place in which to retreat, and “pass out of existence,” all other humans would soon follow.

“Our destiny is related to the destiny of the ma’iingan,” Rose told the board. “That’s part of our teachings.”

But the creation story that depicts the wolf as a companion of man stands in stark contrast to the European view of the wolf, still held today by many non-native people.

The “Little Red Riding Hood” image of the big, bad wolf is alive and well, tribal representatives and wolf experts say. It’s this cultural divide that has the native people opposing the state’s first wolf harvest, while others are eager for a chance to hunt an animal that has recolonized Wisconsin after being driven out of the state in the 1950s…

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