A fervent group of award-winning Native American recording artists from across the United States and around the world have mobilized to contribute songs to honor and defend wolves in the face of a recent proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves (Canis lupus). The 12 song CD titled Wolf is available now as a digital download on www.NAMALIVE.com and will be released in physical format in January 2014.
The American Indian artists include Iroquois singer, composer and acoustic guitarist Joanne Shenandoah, Northern Cheyenne flutist Joseph FireCrow, Austrian-based group Big City Indians, The Gray Wolf Blues Band (Yaqui), Blackfeet poet/singer Jack Gladstone, Irish and Kalapuya flutist and composer, Jan Michael Looking Wolf, Jimmy Lee Young & co-writer Davide Buzzi of Switzerland , world music duo Painted RavenMike White Wolf Serio and his group Silverwolf, pow wow drum group The Plentywolf Singers, instrumental duo Rushingwind and Mucklow, and Apache flutist Cal Silverfox Lopez whose wolf pups can also be heard on the CD.
The concept for CD was triggered by recent campaigns by the Endangered Species Coalition and New York Wolf Conservation Center opposing a proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a bureau within the Department of the Interior, to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico.
The CD took form after Native American Music Association’s President, Ellen Bello, visited the New York Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in South Salem, New York which is home to 17 Gray wolves and 5 Red wolves. The center which was just featured on NBC News with Brian Williams, is a private, not-for-profit environmental education organization which supports wolf conservation and recovery. Executive Director Maggie Howell continues to lead the WCC’s education and advocacy initiatives and tours with their ambassador wolf, Atka, whose photo appears on the CD. For more information you can visit the http://nywolf.org or call 914-763-2373. The CD compilation will benefit Wolf conservation centers such as the one in New York.
The Endangered Species Act has been more than 99% successful at preventing extinction for wildlife under its protection for 40 years. Although wolves have recovered in some parts of the country, wildlife conservation advocates are indicating that there are still many areas of suitable habitat throughout the U.S. where wolves have yet to recover. Recent changes in North Carolina regulations have rolled back protection for red wolves (canis rufus). Since July 26, 2013, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission authorized coyote hunting both during the day and at night with artificial spotlights within the area designated for red wolf recovery. This has led to an increase in the number of red wolves killed in recent weeks.
If approved, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal would transfer the ongoing management of wolf populations to local states where increased killing and aggressive management practices, including sport hunting and trapping would likely occur.
NAMA Founder and President, Ellen Bello recently contributed to an upcoming book celebrating 40 years of the Endangered Species Act, to be published by the Endangered Species Coalition. On November 13th, the Coalition hosted a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act at the Library of Congress building in Washington, DC, where they showcased the book and honored Endangered Species Act heroes–including Members of Congress.
Bello’s book contribution reads, “When you look into the eyes of nature, there is an undeniable and inherent sense of strength, beauty, knowledge and skill. Those same senses are clearly honored and expressed by artists in both contemporary and traditional Native American music initiatives. Native American song is integrally linked with our natural surroundings and various animal species. Animals are honored and respected as our teachers, our companions, and our guardians….Wolves have been long regarded as teachers or pathfinders…As humans, only we have the ability and power to protect our wildlife from facing extinction.”
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has extended a public comment period until December 17th. You can share your comments to continue to protect the Wolf and oppose this potential delisting by visiting