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    Northern Michigan University Native American Students Association, NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team Work to Protect Wolves: Keep Michigan Wolves Protected

    Greg Peterson

    by Greg Peterson

    Leading 2013 campus petition signing events to save Michigan gray wolves from being hunted is the Northern Michigan University Native American Students Association.

    Keep Michigan Wolves Protected must get 161,305 signatures from registered voters by March 27 for a Nov. 2014 referendum.

    An petition drive with numerous NMU student organizations is planned for March 20, 2013.

    "This is (about) hatred" of wolves, said Adam Robarge, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected U.P. coord.

    The interfaith NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team is "standing by the Native American tribes because it is so important to them,” said NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team member Adam Magnuson. "We need to defend what they believe in.”

    Catholic St. Francis of Assisi "befriended a wolf,” said Tom Merkel, NMU Catholic Campus Ministry peer minister/St. Michael Parish.

    NMU EarthKeepers II team is "standing with the native tribes up here," Merkel said. "We have to protect" religious symbol.

    Hannah Vallier and Amanda Weinert are NASA co-presidents and citizens of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

    "I'm ma'iingan-doodem - I'm wolf clan. We believe that we are related to wolves. We are kin,” said Vallier. Killing a wolf is "almost like me killing my own brother."

    Wolves and humans have similarities including "we are both family-orientated," she said.

    Wolves "are important to tribal people" and are significant in Anishinaabe heritage/culture, said Amanda Weinert.

    Weinert explained an elders traditional story that "the first Anishinaabe man was lonely and asked for a companion."

    "Gitchi Manitou (Great Spirit) gave him a wolf or ma'iingan," Weinert 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 would stay connected and live parallel lives, she said.

    "The connections between native people and wolves" include being relocated, slaughtered and misunderstood, said Weinert.

    A wolf hunt in Michigan makes her "sad and is very distressing," she said.

    NMU senior Max Wojciechowski said wolves must be protected because "it's a very sacred animal and not supposed to be hunted."

    “It coincides with my traditional values to try and protect the wolves,” said Wojciechowski, a NASA member of McHenry, Ill.

    GOP Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law allowing a wolf hunt.

    A lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 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, Born Free USA.

    Michigan has 687 wolves.

    EarthKeepers II

    NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team:
    Adam Magnuson
    Katelin Bingner
    Tom Merkel

    NMU NASA Co-Pres.
    Amanda Weinert
    Hannah Vallier

    Adam Robarge, KMWP