Secretary of Interior Haaland opts out of receiving historic wolf treaty from a Tribal delegation for the second time in a month

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Washington, DC – For the second time in a month, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland opted out of a scheduled meeting with a delegation of tribal leaders. On both occasions, Haaland’s staff confirmed that the first Indigenous Interior Secretary would be present to receive the Wolf Treaty and to discuss growing concerns among Tribal Nations and the Indigenous community as the impacts of the Trump Administration’s Endangered Species Act wolf delisting rule threatens not only the viability of the wolf, but treaty rights, sovereignty, and traditional spiritual and religious freedoms.

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Bryan Newland, stepped in for Haaland.

“They didn’t answer any questions and they didn’t ask any questions. Assistant Secretary Newland and his colleagues made notes but absolutely no commitments. In fact, they expressed very little. To call the meeting perfunctory would be an overstatement,” said Rain, director of the film Family, author of the Wolf Treaty, and executive director of the Global Indigenous Council.

One attendee observed that it was unclear if Newland had even read the Wolf Treaty as he did not respond when directly asked by Rain. Presenting the treaty to Secretary Haaland was the purpose of the meeting. Over 700 Tribal Nations on both sides of the US-Canada border have signed the Wolf Treaty. In a written statement the delegation was asked to submit to the DOI prior to the meeting, the tribal representatives asserted:

“The treaty has been described as ‘a blueprint’ for contemporary wolf management and offers a pathway to move away and forward from the archaic practices that remain entrenched today, and which epitomize systemic and institutionalized racism – most of which were authored by the notorious white supremacist and eugenicist, Madison Grant. For Indigenous people, the ESA wolf delisting and the now ongoing decimation of the wolf by white trophy hunters, trappers, and bounty hunters, isn’t simply an ‘environmental’ or ‘wildlife’ issue, it is a social justice issue. The First People of the Land continue to be the last to be heard, despite President Biden’s promises, which he again repeated in his statement on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

“We feel honored to have met with the Assistant Secretary Newland, but totally disappointed that the Secretary of Interior didn’t reschedule an appointment so that we might meet with her personally. We believe that Secretary Haaland is the person to facilitate the implementation of some of the resolutions we presented to the wolf issue and others. ‘Consultation’ is an old, misused term; we’re ready for free, prior, and informed consent, as emphasized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People,” reflected Casey Camp-Horinek, Environmental Ambassador and Elder of the Ponca Nation.

The reason cited for Haaland’s absence was her travel to Glasgow, Scotland to attend the COP26. Camp-Horinek is also attending COP26.

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