Six Native American tribes filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to halt Wisconsin’s wolf hunt in November.
The complaint in a Wisconsin federal court alleges that the state's Natural Resources Board violates the tribes’ rights established under treaties signed in 1837 and 1842 when the board set quotas for the Nov. 6 hunt.
“Defendants’ actions with respect to the upcoming hunt violate, and threaten to continue to violate, Plaintiffs’ rights under long-standing treaties with the United States,” the complaint states.
The board approved a quota of 300 wolves for the upcoming hunt, more than double the 130 quota that was initially proposed by the state’s Department of Natural Resources.
The complaint alleges that when setting the quota, the defendants “purposefully and knowingly discriminated against the Ojibwe Tribes by acting to nullify their share.”
The plaintiffs further allege that the state “failed to use sound biological principles in establishing the quota for the upcoming hunt.” And they say that by failing to protect the tribes’ share, officials “managed, and are continuing to manage, wolf hunting in Wisconsin in a manner that violates Plaintiffs’ treaty-protected right.”
The suit names the Department of Natural Resources as a defendant, as well as individual members of the Natural Resources board.
A spokesperson for the department told The Hill that the agency is reviewing the lawsuit and had no further comment.
The suit was filed by environmental law group EarthJustice on behalf the Ojibwe Tribes, which are based in the upper Midwest states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, as well as portions of Canada.
The suit was filed by six bands of the Ojibwe based in Wisconsin — the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community and St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.
The upcoming hunting season follows an earlier hunt which took place in February, EarthJustice said in a statement. Despite the tribes’ best efforts to protect their share, hunters exceeded state and tribal quotas by killing 218 wolves.