Blackfeet protest grizzly hunting at bear manager meeting

Print Article

A grizzly sow and her cubs feed in a patch of huckleberries in Glacier National Park in the Swiftcurrent Valley in this file photo.

Members of the Blackfeet Tribe protested delisting grizzly bears during a meeting of key bear managers last week.

The outcry came during the public comment period of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly bear subcommittee meeting in Kalispell. The committee is made up of state and federal bear managers.

The Blackfeet consider the grizzly a sacred animal and spiritual relative and oppose its removal from the Endangered Species List.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has developed a trophy grizzly bear hunt that will take place if the bears are delisted in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, but the hunt is limited in take and scope. It prohibits shooting of sows with cubs and is designed with tight season dates that would avoid hunting of females without cubs.

Delisting of grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which includes Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness, has not formally started, but bear managers believe grizzly populations have recovered in the region.

Regardless, former Blackfeet vice chairman and spiritual leader Jimmy St. Goddard announced that over 100 tribes and the United Nations have signed a treaty to cooperate on grizzly protection and protect the rights of indigenous people.

One Blackfeet woman, Marcella Green, was in tears as she read her handwritten speech.

“You can’t call it a recovery (of the grizzly),” she said. “Delisting grizzly bears takes away Indian rights and values. The push for delisting has the footprints of big energy.”

Other Blackfeet in attendance agreed that logging, mining, and development have pushed the grizzly into farmland, where bears are seen as threats and nuisances, and that with delisting will come further habitat loss.

St. Goddard condemned the government for spending so much money to educate and assimilate the Blackfeet, stating that in the Blackfeet nation, unemployment and poverty rates continue to soar at about 80 percent and 79 percent, respectively.

St. Goddard shook a ceremonial staff adorned with raptor wings and colorful fabrics.

“This is my Bible,” he proclaimed. “How would you feel if I stomped on your Bible? It’s not the United States, it’s sacred Indian ground, and I will continue to say that till the day I die.”

St. Goddard has previously made dramatic gestures to stand up for environmental and animal rights. In March 2014, he brought a bloody bison heart to the state Capitol to protest against the Nez Perce tribe’s bison hunting. As a member of the Buffalo Field Campaign, he fought the slaughter of Yellowstone’s wild bison. St. Goddard has also supported wolf reintroduction and opposed drilling.

The Blackfeet Tribe itself is part of the NCDE subcommittee, which meets twice a year to coordinate grizzly recovery efforts in Northwest Montana. Other participating entities include Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Park Service, the Forest Service, USDA APHIS-Wildlife Services, the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Print Article

Read More Local News

FWP commissioners vote against Quiet Waters petition

May 26, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Hungry Horse News The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission Friday voted unanimously against the Quiet Waters petition, which would have banned motorized use on a host of waters across the state, including a po...

Comments

Read More

Gianforte declared winner in House race

May 26, 2017 at 7:45 am | Hungry Horse News BOZEMAN (AP) — Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana’s only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter ...

Comments

Read More

Nucleus Revival continues; Ruis buys Bandit

May 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Hungry Horse News Columbia Falls developer Mick Ruis has bought the Bandit Bar and plans on turning it into a sports bar and steakhouse. He told the Hungry Horse News he closed on the deal with former owner John VanV...

Comments

Read More

In Perry case, more allegations arise

May 24, 2017 at 7:46 am | Hungry Horse News More allegations of misconduct have surfaced in the case of ousted Columbia Falls police chief Dave Perry. At Perry’s pre-trial hearing on May 10 in Flathead County District Court, the former police...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2017 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X