By Sheena Moore
Europeans brought their fear of the wolf to the New World, and for the following 350-plus years, eradicated nearly all of them moving east to west. The last gray wolf in Oregon was killed in 1946 after decades of bounty hunting, poisoning and trapping.
In contrast, some Native Americans tribes have a very different relationship with wolves. The wolf is largely depicted as an admirable hunter. Inupiat Alaskan historically performed a wolf dance to appreciate the sacrifice and celebrate the rebirth of animals they feasted on. Nez Perce Tribe members consider the gray wolf to be their equal, struggling to survive in similar ways. The symbol of the wolf was so significant among the tribe that they partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help restore wolf populations in the 1990s.
For more on the subject, see Dennis Prager and The Ecological Indian, Ecological Indian Talk, and Hercules vs. Coyote: Native and Euro-American Beliefs.
Below: Hunt it to extinction, or honor it?