Shoshones join opposition to grizzly delistingOct 9, 2016 From staff reports
The Eastern Shoshone Tribe will be one of 50 federally recognized American Indian tribes to come together to oppose the U.S. government's plan to remove the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone region from the Endangered Species Act.
The Tribal Council to Protect the Grizzly said representatives attended a meeting Oct. 2 in Jackson Hole to commit to only the third cross-border First Nations/Native American treaty to be signed in some 150 years.
Entitled "The Grizzly: A Treaty of Cooperation, Cultural Revitalization and Restoration," the treaty aims to offer reforms to the management practices of the states that are poised to take control of the destiny of Yellowstone's grizzly bears if, as expected, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removes Endangered Species Act protections from the bear considered sacred by a multitude of tribes.
Another treaty signing will take place Sept. 30 at the council chambers of the Piikani Nation in Brocket, Alberta.
More than 50 nations, supported by the Assembly of First Nations, now stand in opposition to the ESA delisting and trophy hunting of the sacred grizzly bear.
The breadth of tribal opposition is expected to be displayed, as tribal leaders from the Blackfoot Confederacy in the north to the Hopi Tribe in the south, gather to sign the treaty and hold ceremony for bear.
"The grizzly bear is not a trophy for the affluent to kill for sport," said Lee Wayne Lomayestewa, Kikmongwi, chief of the Hopi Bear Clan. "The grizzly bear is sacred. Our people have a connection to the grizzly bear since our ancient migrations."
In May, President Bill Clinton offered his support for the tribes' proposal, which was first presented to USFWS Director Dan Ashe in November 2015. Tribal representatives however, claimed Ashe has "yet to keep his word."
"Among our people, spiritual and sun dance leaders, elders, and council persons have all denounced delisting and trophy hunting the grizzly, and warned of the detrimental consequences to our youth and future generations if this should occur," said Chief Stanley Grier, the driving force behind the treaty and chief of the Piikani Nation.
USFWS's delisting rule identifies 28 mining claims with operating plans in what it considers core grizzly habitat in Yellowstone.
The tribes said that no Tribal Historic Preservation Office has been contacted to "survey, determine, and catalog" these sacred and historic sites throughout Greater Yellowstone.
In an email obtained by a recrds request, Ashe said he was concerned that the delisting pathway "seems at odds with the 'best available' science standard of ESA."