Tomorrow marks the opening day of Michigan’s first wolf hunt in nearly 40 years. The state has issued 1,200 hunting licenses to kill 43 wolves, all in the Upper Peninsula.
The hunt is not without its share of controversy. The state legislature out-maneuvered opponents’ first attempt to halt the hunt with a statewide referendum. Efforts are underway to put the wolf hunt up to a vote in 2014. And recently, State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), a strong proponent of the wolf hunt, apologized for using a fictional account in 2011 while urging Congress to remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list.
Michigan’s American Indian tribes have been some of the strongest opponents of the wolf hunt. The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe based in Mount Pleasant is holding a candlelight vigil and sacred fire for the wolf tonight. Joining us by phone to tell us more is Charmaine Shawana, a member of the Tribal Council for the Saginaw Chippewas. Shawana says traditionally, the wolf is part of their creation story, and is also one of their clans.