Feds Announce Proposed Rule to Delist
& Trophy Hunt Grizzly. Oglala Lakota Vice President Tom Poor Bear Responds
(Photo: Vice President Tom Poor Bear with revered Oglala Lakota Holy Man, Black Elk. The day before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Black Elk participated in a grizzly Bear Medicine ceremony.)
STATEMENT OF VICE PRESIDENT TOM POOR BEAR – OGLALA LAKOTA NATION – ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE PROPOSED RULE TO DELIST AND TROPHY HUNT THE GRIZZLY BEAR
The Federal government’s announcement today to issue the delisting rule to remove Endangered Species Act protections from the grizzly bear exhibits the typical demeaning attitude of the colonizer towards our people and rights. It’s a 500-year tradition among them. Tribes have endured two centuries of deception and deceit when dealing with the US government, and this announcement of a rule that will provide rich wasicus with the legal authority to trophy hunt our sacred relative, the grizzly bear, is a continuation of that pattern.
These so-called state game and fish agencies exist to serve a clientele that is 95% white, 95% male, and many of who kill for trophies. They are the vocal minority, and under the systems that exist through colonialism and patriarchy they have been able to dominate, lie and cheat their way into control. I say no more. We are the conscience of the land. We will not allow the very soul of the earth to be robbed to satisfy the political special interests of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Like the grizzly bear, we were here millennia before there were states. This is simply the continuation of Manifest Destiny.
When I look at what the US government and the states intend to do to the grizzly bear, I look at what they did to our ancestors. They tried to annihilate us like they did the grizzly, the buffalo and the wolf.
They forced us from our homelands and made us live on reservations. Today they want to keep the grizzly on two reservations called Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. They put bounties on our ancestors’ heads. They paid for their scalps, and they are doing the same thing now – this time with our relative, the grizzly bear – when they start trophy hunting her for her head and skin. This is a violation of natural law, and our spiritual and religious rights.
I respectfully remind all of you that the grizzly bear has a spiritual purpose, which is to watch over the future, and our future generations. We are two-legged, like the grizzly, and we must not forget our ancient compact and responsibility to care for each other. I warn you from experience gained in many fights with the US government and states, that this is not just about the grizzly bear, it is about the land the grizzly walks upon. If the grizzly is delisted, you will witness a two million acre land grab by energy and mining companies, livestock interests, and timber operations.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse –