Michigan Public Radio Environment Report — Two Stories


This morning The Environment Report covered NAGPRA and a road project in Oscoda County where workers uncovered remains. The Department of Transportation is working with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe.

Also, the Report covered potential invasive species in the Great Lakes and an online resource developed by NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab to identify the species (including killer shrimp. Huh.).


The Environment Report: Wolf Classification as Game Animal and Tribal Opposition

Here. The audio version is longer than the print version.

We’ve been doing a lot of thinking in the office about how courts interpret the “public interest” when weighing tribal concerns. This story certainly shows how one state representative chooses to do so.

Allen: Many of the Indian tribes in Michigan are opposed to this legislation right now, and that’s primarily because they feel the wolf has a special status for them. It figures importantly in many of their creation stories. They consider the wolf to be a brother or part of their kin. Here’s what Kurt Perron, the president of the Bay Mills Indian Community, told me about that:

“As we see the wolf returning, or gaining strength, just like we, as Ojibwe Anishinaabe people have, we see that relationship. So that’s what concerns us with the hunt, it’s almost like you’re hunting our brothers.”

Perron also said that by hunting wolves, you really don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of how that affects the pack structure of wolves, since they are pack animals.

Senator Tom Casperson of the western Upper Peninsula, is the primary sponsor of the wolf hunt bill, and he says that he has met a couple of times with the Indian tribes, and heard their concerns, and he recognizes and respects their relationship to the wolf. But he also says that that’s not a value that all of his constituents hold.

“I don’t know how you negotiate that, because that’s a personal belief they have. But at the end of the day, I do think many people don’t hold that same belief, so what do we do. Do we hold fast to it because the tribes say it’s sensitive to them, when many of my citizens don’t hold that same value?”