The Spirit of the Hunt

January 21 – February 11, 2022

The Spirit of the Hunt is a traveling exhibition that was curated to raise awareness and consideration of current proposed legislation for wolf management in Michigan, following the delisting of gray wolves from the Endangered Species List which removed their protections under the Federal Act. This exhibition was organized in collaboration with Project Coyote, a nonprofit working to educate and improve the conservation of predators nationwide. Project Coyote is a North American coalition of scientists, educators, ranchers, and citizen leaders promoting compassionate conservation and management of native carnivores.

Currently, there is proposed legislation that could impact the longevity of the wolf population in Michigan by altering the Wolf Management Advisory Council. Senate Bill 0486, will require council members to be residents of the Upper Peninsula. Michigan House Bills 5078 and 5079 would amend the requirements for council members to include more representation of conservation organizations. The proposed changes in these three bills could significantly impact the management decisions of the Michigan wolf populations.

This exhibition was curated by Catherine Plank, a graduate student at the University of Michigan studying Ecosystem Science and Management in collaboration with Project Coyote and their Artist for Wild Nature Program. She arranged the artwork to highlight the beauty and value of these native predators. This exhibition has also been on view in 2021 at Northern Michigan University, in Marquette, MI, and at Michigan Technological University, in Houghton MI.

During a previous iteration of the show, Tanya Aldred a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLFWC) offered a presentation entitled “Ma’iingan (wolf): An Ojibwe Perspective” at Michigan Technological University in September of 2021. During her presentation, Aldred explained the significance of wolves to the Ojibwe people, and the role they play in the Anishinaabe creation story. The Anishinaabe ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands can be found in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and much of lower Canada. Michigan State University occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Anishinaabe – Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples.

All the artwork in the show was donated by artists with the goal of inspiring coexistence between people and the wolves and coyotes in the Great Lakes region, all proceeds from work purchased would be donated to Project Coyote.

If you are interested in providing feedback to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, they have an online survey available until January 31, 2022 about the management of wolves in Michigan.