Lessons From Wolves

The survival or defeat of the wolf symbolizes the way people are able to access the land according to their culture-

Lessons From Wolves by Jami Wright. Izilwane .

Ms. Wright is a graduate student completing her thesis for a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology at Western Washington University. Her thesis focuses on human-human conflicts surrounding wolves in Idaho. She interviewed  many people (including myself) to complete this article.

It is my view that anthropology, sociology, social psychology and political science are more important for studying the wolf than biology. Wright’s article well describes the cultural conflict taking place in Idaho. I’d say that the wolf issue is just a tiny part of a number of intense cultural issues that are ripping the United States apart. The United States is a unique nation in that it is composed of people (peoples) from many places who share a common set of political beliefs.  Most other nations are based on a common language, religion, long history, etc.  Americans increasing no longer share common political or other basic beliefs. Therefore, instability has set in.

When she wrote “The survival or defeat of the wolf has come to symbolize the ability to access land in culturally specific ways, ultimately sustaining or depleting one’s own culture” she is, in my view, referring to the entire series of controversies over the proper way to use the land that have grown in intensity in Idaho and the Western United States over the last 40 years: wilderness, endangered species, grazing, timbering, energy production and transmission.

Why are wolves accepted in the Great Lakes, but not the Rockies?

Brodie Farquhar looks at the striking difference in his article in New West

Here it is:

Wolves in the Midwest vs. the West. What’s the Difference? Us. By Brodie Farquhar. New West. 9/13/2010
“In the Great Lakes, where there are more wolves, the animal’s not the lightning rod it is here. Blame the media and blame relocation. But should we also blame ourselves?”

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My view is the upper mid-West is naturally much more productive deer country. The average hunter does very well.  Wolves are less visible because of the forest.  The upper mid-West is not burdened by cowboy mythology, a problem in all kinds of wildlife management. The mid-West does not have the semi-feudal political system that the rural West has where livestock owners sit on top. The mid-West has a progressive political and cultural tradition. I think the interior Pacific Northwest also tends to attract those who like the fact that they are not many Black folks. These people are always on the far right of the political spectrum.

I’ve lived in both places, but most of my life has been in Utah and Idaho.  Fortunately I was in a position not to really be taught cowboy mythology, and throw off local mythology because of the kind of career I choose.  Ralph Maughan