Tribal leaders say they have more than a cultural stake in the wolf, however.
They also believe the state has a legal obligation to give Michigan’s tribes an equal say in the management of the wolf and other wildlife species because of a treaty signed in 1836.
The Treaty of Washington was an agreement between the Ottawa and Chippewa nations and the United States in which the Indians agreed to cede 13 million acres of tribal land to the U.S. government — a move that paved the way for Michigan to become a state in 1837.
In return, Indians were granted unlimited hunting, gathering and fishing rights to the land.
In 2007, the treaty was strengthened in a court-mandated consent decree between the Department of Natural Resources and the tribes. The agreement requires the DNR to manage the state’s natural resources based on “sound scientific management” and to coordinate their efforts with the tribes.