The Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office has expressed frustration with not being invited to a meeting on delisting the grizzly bear in Cody in November. Preservation Director Yufna Soldier Wolf said under a new policy adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year, the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of local tribes must be considered in such decisions.
“The bear is sacred to us,” said Soldier Wolf. “So, through Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) they should be protected, there should be something there saying that, well, hold on here, what do the tribes think? What are their views and tribal perspective on the bear? We haven’t even been asked that. You’re the first one to ask me that.”
Soldier Wolf said the Wind River Reservation is home to many grizzly bears and so the tribes there should receive notice of all Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee meetings.
“We are part of the Yellowstone National Park, you know, a lot of the animals that go through here, that’s their animal corridor,” said Soldier Wolf. “So there’s a lot of things that are going on that impact the tribes but we’re left out of having a voice.”
Soldier Wolf said, at the meeting, the agency also misrepresented the tribe's position, saying they support de-listing the bear even though, back in September, tribal leaders signed a cross border treaty with Canadian tribes opposing the bear's removal from the Endangered Species list.