Northern Michigan University students crossed campus in wind-driven heavy snow showers on Feb. 27, 2013 to sign the petition to save Michigan gray wolves from being hunted.
NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team
Native American Students Association
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected have until March 27 to get 161,305 signatures to allow voters to decide the fate wolves.
An all-day petition drive with NMU student organizations is planned for March 20, 2013.
Organizers hope Michigan Secretary of State staff will be on hand to register people to vote.
"This is (about) hatred" of wolves, said Adam Robarge, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Upper Peninsula coord.
"I see zero reasons" for a wolf hunt, Robarge said.
Wolves "just got off the endangered species list so to hunt them seems premature," said NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team member Adam Magnuson, 21, of Marquette.
"There has never been a recorded wolf attack on a human in Michigan history," he said.
"We need to be careful to consider the ecological and biological" impact of a wolf hunt, said NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team member Katelin Bingner, 20, biology major from Spring Arbor, MI.
The interfaith NMU EarthKeepers II "need to defend what Native Americans believe," Magnuson said.
Catholic "St. Francis of Assisi befriended a wolf and is often depicted in images with a wolf," said Tom Merkel, NMU Catholic Campus Ministry peer minister/St. Michael Parish.
Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is "the green pope" and "is very pro-environment saying the church has to ... protect God's Creation," Merkel said. "He has made the Vatican very green."
Hannah Vallier and Amanda Weinert are NASA co-presidents and citizens of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
"I am wolf clan (ma'iingan-doodem)," Vallier said.
Weinert explained a traditional story from elders that "the first Anishinaabe man was lonely and asked for a companion."
"Gitchi Manitou (the Great Spirit) gave him a wolf or ma'iingan," she said. "They went on a journey to name all the plants and animals."
After the journey "they were told they could no longer be companions" but will stay connected and live parallel lives, said Weinert.
Weinert says Native Americans and wolves continue to "live parallel lives."
"The connections between native people and wolves" include "we've both been relocated" slaughtered and misunderstood, said Weinert, an NMU senior.
A lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar by the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Animals and Their Environment, Help Our Wolves Live, and Born Free USA.
MI has 687 and 782 wolves.
Adam Robarge, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected U.P. Coord.