Wednesday’s Water, Oceans, and also Wildlife Subcommittee legislative hear featured powerful testimony from aboriginal American defect witnesses ~ above the profound definition of grizzly bear to tribal society and tribal support for Chair Raúl M. Grijalva’s (D-Ariz.) Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear protection Act.

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Grijalva’s invoice ensures that grizzly bears are permanently defended for their eco-friendly and cultural value and guarantees indigenous American people a role in conserving and managing the species.


Grizzly bears are thought about sacred by plenty of tribes, however only a small portion of historical grizzly populations currently exist in the reduced 48 states. In the continental united States, the grizzly bear populace of roughly 1,500 is far below the species’ historical level of nearly 50,000 animals. Grizzlies proceed to challenge threats from person encroachment and also climate change.

The types faces an unsure legal future. In 2017, the department of the interior removed the higher Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear populace from the endangered types list. The states of Wyoming and also Idaho soon announced grizzly bear trophy hunts.


In 2018, a commonwealth court struck down the decision come delist the GYE grizzly bear, judgment that grizzlies currently living in isolated pockets can’t it is in delisted one pocket at a time offered the species’ overall struggles come survive. The ruling revived federal protections for the populace and blocked any kind of potential trophy hunts. The Trump administration and the state of Wyoming have actually appealed that decision, and also an appeals court judgment is possible later this year.

indigenous American tribes throughout the American West take into consideration the grizzly bear a sacred animal. For centuries, tribes have actually revered the multifaceted actions of grizzly bears and respected their strength, size, and speed. While different tribes hold different beliefs around grizzly bears, many consider grizzly bears to be closely tied come the soul of ancestors.


More than 170 tribal countries signed “The Grizzly: A contract of Cooperation, cultural Revitalization and also Restoration,” making that the most-signed tribal treaty in history. The treaty honors, recognizes, and revitalizes the ancient relationship between tribal nations and also the grizzly bear, and intends to restore balance come land stewardship.

The preamble to the treaty, i beg your pardon has end up being known together the Grizzly Treaty, states:


since time immemorial, thousands of generations of the first peoples that the very first NATIONS of phibìc America have come and gone due to the fact that before and also after the melt of the glaciers that covered North America. For all those generations the GRIZZLY has been our ancestor, our relative. The GRIZZLY is component of us and also WE are component of the GRIZZLY culturally, spiritually and also ceremonially. Our old relationship is so close and also so embodied in us that the GRIZZLY is the soul of ours holistic eco-cultural life-ways.

During yesterday’s hearing, tribal witnesses described grizzly bears’ extensive significance and also demanded irreversible federal protection for grizzlies.

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“The grizzly be affected by each other – Hoonaw, as we speak to him – is hosted in high esteem, not only in ours Hopi culture, but by other Native world in the joined States and also Canada. He is a healer and a medicine man. The plays a central role in the traditions, ceremonies, and also the sovereignty the the indigenous people,” claimed Benjamin H. Nuvamsa, member that the Hopi bear Clan and also former chairman of the Hopi Tribe. “It to be the most an effective of bears the guided and also protected my ancestors to arrive at Tuuwanasavi (‘Center the the Universe’), together we call the place where we live today. The bear, native which mine ancestors took their name, offered rise come other important clans in ~ Hopi. Today, the be affected by each other Clan continues as classic leaders, and an influential clan in the Hopi society and Hopi way of life.”


“There is no soundbite that can connect the prestige of the grizzly in our cultures, however the truth that our ancestors wouldn’t say the surname of the grizzly the end of respect speak to the good Bear’s social significance,” stated Tom Rodgers, member of the Blackfeet nation and Rocky hills Tribal leaders Council. “It is time the tribal nations had input and also parity in decisions the will recognize the future survive of our spiritual ancestor, the grizzly bear.”

“The grizzly be affected by each other is integral come the culture and spiritual techniques of the north Arapaho people. Our elders teach just how the grizzly bear carried us our medicines. Grizzlies know not only about roots and also herbs for physical healing but also about healing mental conditions, castle say,” stated Lynnette Grey Bull, an elderly vice president of the an international Indigenous Council and spokesperson of the north Arapaho Elders Society. “In the socio-economic bondage we make it through in, our reservation communities need that healing much more than ever today. The grizzly be afflicted with isn’t a ‘trophy video game animal.’ The grizzly is our relative, a grandparent. The frontier mentality exercise of ‘trophy hunting’ our relative is abhorrent to us, and also in no method reflects the ‘best accessible science’ precept of the Endangered species Act.”

Grijalva’s bill, formally designated H.R. 2532, is easily accessible online here. Amongst other measures, the bill:


Bans trophy hunting and also non-discriminatory predator manage measures that may an outcome in taking of grizzly bears on publicly landsPermits “take” and also “possession” the grizzly bears just for details purposes going forwardRequires federal consultation with tribes before relevant permits space issued and before any significant federal action that could influence grizzly bears or their habitatCreates a procedure for reintroduction the grizzly bears on suitable land of ready tribes

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