Illahee Advisor the Invisible Warrior

I was invited today to make photographs of an action created by a man who calls himself Illahee Advisor the Invisible Warrior. (Closer view of him in extra, along with a shot of him drumming at the front desk of the office of Oregon Fish and Wildlife.) He comes from Potawatomi, Paiute, Dakota, and one other Native American nation, and wolves are holy to his people. “Wolf Guy,” as he calls himself informally, lives with two wolves who are his life companions, and he does not consider the U.S. Government to have legitimacy, as it has come to its strength and power on stolen land and the genocide of native people. The current administration wants to take wolves off the list of Endangered Species. In Oregon, after years of conservation efforts, there are now less than two hundred wolves; so Wolf Guy feels the species is still too fragile to be delisted. He fears delisting will result in massacre, and he feels the massacre of wolves as massacre of his family.

Today he delivered the Paiute history of native people’s connection with Wolf to the offices of Oregon Fish and Wildlife, in Salem, Oregon, along with sacred drumming and singing, and he wanted his action to be recorded in photographs. I was honored to be his photographer. After we parted, he wrote about his actions of the past two days in his blog

Our local public radio station recently offered a description of the situation, and an editorial in the Capital Press, a newsletter for farmers and ranchers, many of whom want to kill wolves, warns its readers that wolves will not be de-listed easily. We hope not. Illahee Advisor is here, with the support of his people and their allies, to stop it. 

While we waited together for the moment when he felt it was time for his action, he talked to me of the divinity of wolves, and of the terrible damage done to the environment by the massacre of wolves by European colonizers. The massacre of wolves ruined the balance of nature; farms were overrun by rabbits, elk herds weakened, the forests were affected. “What happens to Wolf also happens to all of us,” he said, “because we are all connected.”

Thanks to Mario for reminding me of this brilliant short, gorgeous video with narration by George Monbiot: "How Wolves Change Rivers."

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