Native Americans Fight Against Delisting The Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

Female Grizzly Eating Grass

Female Grizzly Eating Grass Yellowstone National Park USFWS

We all knew it was coming. The USFWS wants to delist the Yellowstone grizzly bear. But they’ll have a fight on their hands because Native Americans are pushing back. I wish they’d taken a stand for wolves but at least they’re coming together for the Great Bear.


Native Americans Fight to Keep the Grizzly Bear on the Endangered Species List

grizzlybear_Jim Urquhart_Reuters

Grizzly Bear – Photo Jim Urquhart/Reuters

By John R. Platt

OCT 27, 2015

Tribal groups say a move to remove protections for the spiritual touchstone of native culture threatens their sovereignty.

Has the grizzly bear recovered enough in Yellowstone National Park to be removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act?

The federal government and some state agencies seem to think so. For more than a year now, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has been moving toward delisting grizzly bears. There are about 750 bears living in and around Yellowstone, well above the 136 that lived there when the government protected the Yellowstone population in 1975.

Native American groups, however, argue that the bears have not recovered and that any proposal to remove protections or trophy-hunt the animals ignores tribal sovereignty and culture. Some tribes even call it cultural genocide.

“The grizzly was and remains the physical manifestation of the spirit of the earth, to me, and many others,” said R. Bear Stands Last, cofounder of Guardians of Our Ancestors’ Legacy, a coalition of nearly 50 tribes from six states that have come together to oppose the grizzly bear delisting.

The bears play an important role in the culture for many tribes in the West. “The grizzly was the first two-legged to walk upon this land,” Bear Stands Last said. “The grizzly is a teacher and was, in essence, the first medicine person who taught the curing and healing practices adopted by many peoples.”

Even with that cultural history, the push to delist the bears moves forward. The FWS has sent out two rounds of letters to several tribes, but GOAL said that does not meet the standards for the tribal consultationsthat are required under the Endangered Species Act and other laws. Last December, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe passed a formal resolution opposing the delisting proposal.

“FWS has made no serious attempt to adhere to the established consultation protocols and mandates, all of which are clearly established and are integral to the trust responsibility held by the federal government toward tribal nations,” said Bear Stands Last.

Agency spokesperson Ryan Moehring said the FWS has offered to consult with 48 tribes and has held five government-to-government meetings. It also plans a tribal webinar and conference call on Nov. 13 to “listen to their concerns and answer questions.”

Grizzlies did briefly lose their endangered species status in 2007, but a court ruling in 2009 returned it after finding that the bears’ food sources, such as whitebark pine nuts, were at risk. Bear Stands Last said nothing has improved in Yellowstone.

“It is not only the decimation of whitebark pine and cutthroat trout; there are also various berry subsets declining due to climate change,” he said, noting that pushes grizzlies further outside the park in search of food, which puts them in further conflict with humans.



Photo: USFWS

Posted in: grizzly bear, endangered species

Top Photo: Courtesy USFWS

Middle Photo: Courtesy (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

Tags: Native Americans, Yellowstone grizzly, stop the delisting, USFWS

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yes, by all means. Let’s see if the government can screw up God’s plan some more. We are all God’s creatures..and we all have a right to live on God’s planet…according to Him.


  2. Once again, pandering to hunters. Despicable. The Grizzly is a noble creature worthy of protection from exploiters.


  3. I was glad to read this. Thank goodness there are people who can be counted on to do the right thing somewhere, and who have ethics and pride since forever.


  4. I’m concerned because their food supply is rather up in the air and questionable right now, and there’s not a lot of genetic diversity, or habitat connectivity. Only caving to hunters and outfitters, and of course ranchers. And woefully inadequate results re education of YNP visitors (but perhaps that is the visitors’ own fault). “It is suggested that you use bear spray, but it’s your choice”

    Yeah, if you don’t mind having a bear terrorized and brutally killed so that you can selfishly do whatever you want, it’s your choice all right.


    • ida, also the grizzly has one of the lowest reproductive rates. That’s because they keep their cubs with them for two to three years, there is so much to teach them. All it will take are a few grizzly bear hunts and their numbers will plummet. This delisting is all about trophy hunting, nothing else. The USFWS is serving their constituents, the hunters and trappers.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • RIght, Nabeki!

        The population must NOT be diminished – it has already gone through one bottleneck, down from the pregun era (Euroinvasion of North America) of up to 100,000 in the lower US 48 states, to 2% of their former habitat in the USA and only 1 to 2% of that population – maybe 1100.
        Out on the West coast, where the biggest outside Alaska lived until the invasion of the miners around 1850, there are none – their big, beautiful salmon-munching genes are lost forever.

        GOAL Guardians of Our Ancestors’ Legacy is a coalition of indigenous, who appreciate ALL who share the understanding of the sacredness of the Bear, is active in opposing the delisting.

        Please stand with them all.

        The Bear has the largest brain to body size of the carnivora, and both joys in life, and suffers emotionally from mistreatment. Griz AVOID people whenever they can – they are not as imagined by most.
        It is important to give them space should you see one, as they are rightly worried, inquisitive, and feel threatened by their recent history with humans.
        For an intro to nonlethal training of bears in MT and a little insight, find Doug Chadwick’s “True Grizz.”


  5. Yup, let’s wipe out another bear species. They’re out of control and before long we will not have bear, wolf, buffalo and bobcats!


  6. I wish our brother and sister Native Americans would make a strong stand-up for wolves; however, blessings for them for taking a stand for the Griz. Both animals contribute to the health and life of planet Earth.


  7. Nabeki,
    Oregon DFW has just recommended against the advice of numerous wolf biologists and ecologists, that the Gray Wolf be delisted in that state.
    Can you post something on that issue quickly?

    The ODFW Commission is scheduled to vote on ODFW’s plan to strip legal protection from gray wolves on Friday, November 9th in Salem. This may be the last opportunity you have to provide written testimony to the Commission on wolf delisting and to speak on behalf of protecting Oregon’s wolves, from the Imnaha Pack in Northeast Oregon to OR-7 and the Rogue Pack in the South Cascades.

    Here’s an action page to contact DFW Commission:

    PLEASE everyone who reads this, use YOUR OWN WORDS, to support the unbiased scientists – When I was at the Oct Commission meeting which was taking public comment, they prefaced all public comment on the various issues then with:
    The Commission will make the decision based upon the science, and NOT opinions, although if you are a resident, your concerns are also taken into account.

    Increasing scientific evidence is showing that the present population is too small to remove protections, as poaching and any lethal removal due to conflict will destroy extant family units.

    Oregon must not begin any public hunting of wolves, as the Idaho and Montana populations are fast being turned into a population sink, rather than a source. If OR turns itself into hell for wolves, California, with vast suitable areas, will more easily be turned into another hell.

    Instead those who love wolves MUST stop all trend toward killing of any wolf . It’s all on you – I am doing what I can, too


  8. Now, you have tolerated increasingly strident messages from me as I learn more and more about the laws, the corruption of state govts and agencies concerning especially wolves, and the lame response to the poaching and murdering that is going on. (nearly ALL poached wolves are done by active hunters- this has long been documented by wildlife biologists)

    Here I just want to demonstrate WHY i am so frustrated by the implacability of “game” (in Idaho, this word needs to be removed from the “crossing” signs, and replaced with “wildlife”) managers, legislators, and the (actually diminishing!) complement of hunters (although ID for instance has MORE out-of-state hunters than ever , the instate ones are happily dying off – even though they are coaxed by their magazines to bring their little girls along so they, too, can be made into brutal, unfeeling psychopaths.
    So, as evidence of my own sanity, however y’all read my comments, I present to you:
    “Buck Bear Bomb Hickory Smoked Bacon”
    “5 ounces of food grade Hickory Smoked Bacon scent in an aerosol can that can be dispersed in short bursts or locked down to fog out the entire contents
    The Bear Bomb has no nutritional value so it’s not considered bait and is the most effective way to quickly and easily get fresh scent out to a bears nose from a great distance.
    The Bear Bomb can entice previously nocturnal and generally larger bears to visit baits before nightfall.
    The Bear Bomb’s fine particulate will drift long distances sticking to everything it comes in contact with, leaving a natural scent trail right back to The Bear Bomb can.
    There is no simpler more effective way to get scent to the animal and cover the human odor than Bear Bomb.”
    Sold at

    If you don’t understand exactly what this is, it is a spray perfume guaranteed to lure innocent bears of both species to their deaths for fat white hunters to perform their Hannibal Lecter ejaculations while only moving a finger.
    Notice that it is a way intended to get around the no-baiting laws of more enlightened states

    Expect trappers to also use it, and so my suggestion or plea to save your urine in squirt bottles and spray AROUND the trap or bait area requires more wider application.
    Matter of fact, save as much of your urine as you can, and in the ease of winter tracking, use it wherever you see hunters go.I don’t anymore have access to a snowmobile, but if you can, please follow snowmo trails in order to find where dismounts occur, and even if you do not detect traps, etc, stop and spray.
    Both wolves and bears learn fast, yet, they do die if they’re naive, and this means the just-grown dispersers, looking to find a mate and start to repopulate land once free of the fat hunters with their insane technology and continuing their psychopathic human genes.


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