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NOTE FROM STEPHEN FOX: Every bit of the contents of this article are far too important to anyone who cares about not privatizing national forests and about Native Americans, that I must go beyond a mere quick link to this article or summarizing it clumsily when it is so perfectly written and detailed . I hope that you will not only read the entire article but share it really widely. All Americans need to know this information, as originally published on Native News Online
Published December 14, 2106
BILLINGS, MONTANA -- "Where the hell is he, my man!" then presidential candidate Donald Trump hollered as he took the stage for a rally in Billings, Montana, last May. Now the American people know: if the President-elect gets his way, his "man," Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana, will be at 1849 C Street NW in Washington, DC, at the head of the Department of the Interior.
Shortly after that rally, GOAL Tribal Coalition predicted Zinke would hold high office in a Trump administration, with Interior his likely landing spot. GOAL, which remains one of the largest tribal coalitions in North America, is the force behind the campaign to keep the sacred grizzly bear out of trophy hunters gun sights, and to protect the ancestral tribal lands the grizzly presently occupies from an initial 28 mines identified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the rule it is about to approve that will remove the grizzly in Greater Yellowstone from the Endangered Species Act.
Following the emergence of what GOAL described as the "Zinke-Trump alliance," the tribal coalition went on the offensive and after a widely reproduced editorial by the organization's chairman, David Bearshield, Montana governor Steve Bullock wrote to GOAL's founder, Don Shoulderblade.
In his letter, Governor Bullock tried to justify his alignment with Zinke on the issue, but added that delisting "does not mean the state will initiate a grizzly bear hunting season."
With a trophy hunter from Montana about to run Interior, the governor's claim appears as threatened as the bear. Zinke has championed the delisting and trophy hunting of the grizzly in direct opposition to every tribe in the state, either through resolutions, or being signatories to the historic "grizzly treaty." Should Zinke be confirmed, Bullock will select his interim replacement in Congress from three nominees tabled by Republicans, before a special election is held.
"Ryan Zinke has a dismal 3 percent lifetime environmental voting record. His brief political career has been substantially devoted to attacking endangered species and the Endangered Species Act. He led efforts to strip federal protections for endangered wolves, lynx and sage grouse, voted to exempt massive agribusiness and water developers from Endangered Species Act limitations, and opposed efforts to crack down on the international black market ivory trade," says Kiera'n Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Suckling is referring to the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act. Under the "SHARE Act," Zinke supports aerial gunning, the baiting of grizzly bears and denning wolves on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, hunting with hounds, and the use of steel-jawed leg traps. Under SHARE, "sportsmen" are able to import a limited number of polar bear carcasses and ivory from African elephants. Zinke, described by the NRA as an "avid" trophy hunter, has introduced legislation to "block threats from anti-hunting groups" that seek to limit hunting on federal lands, and when previously running for Lieutenant Governor, went on record to say that in respect to wildlife management, he took his lead from "ranchers and hunting guides across the state."
"This is not a hunting issue, it is a killing issue," explains Shoulderblade of the consequences of grizzly delisting. "We come from a subsistence culture, where there is ceremony and great respect accorded those beings you ask to offer their lives so that you might live. That is what you call a hunting tradition, not a killing tradition," clarifies the Cheyenne Sun Dance Priest.
"THE GRIZZLY IS SACRED, OUR GRANDPARENT, NOT A 'TROPHY GAME ANIMAL,'" HE ADDS. ZINKE WAS A HIGH-PROFILE ATTENDEE AT THIS YEAR'S SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION IN LAS VEGAS, THE LARGEST ANNUAL GATHERING OF TROPHY HUNTERS IN THE WORLD. SOURCES REPORT THAT ZINKE REPLACED REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS AS TRUMP'S PICK FOR INTERIOR AFTER DON TRUMP, JR., A FELLOW TROPHY HUNTER, MET WITH ZINKE AND THEN LOBBIED FOR MONTANA'S CONGRESSMAN, WHO GOES BY "COMMANDER ZINKE."