American Indians Demand Bear Protection

by MOLLY MOSER & PAUL GEORGE

Raquel Arthur, president of the Northern Nevada chapter of the American Indian Movement, speaks against bear hunting during the public comment period of the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners meeting at the Nevada Department of Wildlife in Reno on March 23, 2012. / Andy Barron/RGJ file

Raquel Arthur, president of the Northern Nevada chapter of the American Indian Movement, speaks against bear hunting at the Nevada Department of Wildlife in 2012. / Photo by Andy Barron of the Reno Gazette-Journal

American Indians from all across Nevada gathered in front of the Legislature building in Carson City on Monday to offer their support for Senate Bill 82, which would prohibit bear hunting in Nevada.

About 50 people participated in the protest— dancing, singing and burning incense around the skull of a black bear. As cars passed the event on South Carson St., drivers honked their horns in support of banners that read: “Stop Killing our Bears” and “Save our Bears.”

Raquel Arthur, President of the Northern Nevada chapter of the American Indian Movement (AIM), says the demonstrators were there to give a voice to the bears. Many American Indians consider the bear to be a sacred animal.

“We’re here to support the bill in hopes that the lawmakers will look out their window and actually see us,” Arthur says.

According to the AIM, the bear is a sacred animal because it provides healing medicine and is considered a relative. The AIM also states that the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, which represents all 27 Nevada tribes along with 11 individual tribal councils, has passed resolutions against bear hunts.

Arthur says that if the bill fails, the Northern Nevada chapter of AIM will not give up.

“We’re not going to get discouraged at one try,” Arthur says. “We’re going to keep going for the long haul.”



Categories: YOUR WILDLIFE