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Tribal Affairs

Northern Cheyenne Grizzly Bear Advocate Leaves Legacy of Conservation

Don Shoulderblade
Courtesy of Guardians of Our Ancestors Legacy Tribal Coalition
Don Shoulderblade

A Northern Cheyenne spiritual leader died over the weekend.

The grizzly bear is sacred for many plains tribes and that includes the Northern Cheyenne. Northern Cheyenne tribal member Don Shoulderblade passed over the weekend after a career of advocacy protecting the grizzly bears from being removed from the federal endangered species list and losing protections from trophy hunters.

Shoulderblade said in 2018 about trophy hunting, “We come from a subsistence culture where there is ceremony and great respect given to 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. Trophy hunting grizzly bears is part of a killing tradition.”

Shoulderblade founded Guardians of Our Ancestors Legacy Tribal Coalition, an organization that helped rally tribal groups all over the U.S. to help protect grizzlies from trophy hunting.

Taylar Stagner is Yellowstone Public Radio’s Report For America statehouse reporter.