When I was a girl, I read a story I found odd at the time. Many of the story’s details escape me, but the core of the story has been burned into my psyche. It was about an elderly American Indian woman living with her extended family as viewed through the eyes of her great-granddaughter. As so often is the case, many traditions and beliefs get lost from generation to generation. The woman was often dismissed and misunderstood by her family because of her native beliefs and age. Perhaps, her very existence was an uncomfortable reminder of the close familial link between them, and the savage, villains they once represented in the black and white cowboy and Indian movies with a firm footing in Americana.
The elderly grandmother seemed sad and out of time to the little girl in the story. Possibly hoping to cheer her up, she went out into the field and picked some flowers and presented them to her great-grandmother who refused to take them replying that she took what was not hers to give.
I think of this story often: I think of it when I see images of dead endangered seahorses in jars or made into jewelry, the need for multiple armed guards to protect the last few northern white rhinos from poachers, an image of a wealthy politician’s son standing over a dead elephant he killed on safari holding up its’ cut off tail as a prize, when anyone attempts to capture beauty or enhance their status of wealth or prowess as a mighty hunter by “trophy hunting” or hunting for “sport” instead of taking a picture, and a multitude of similar atrocities.
If exotic animals aren’t stuffed and mounted, made into rugs, served as a delicacy, or intended to enhance the sexual experience or cure impotence, then there are other non-evidence-based cures propagated for a host of other human ailments that threaten animal’s existence. Still, there is another group of exotic animal predator: those that want to remove them from their natural habitat, cage them and possess them like a rare painting.
I understand hunting for sustenance. I think of the early native American that killed quickly and with mercy and used every part of the kill never forgetting to honor the animal that sacrificed its life. I don’t understand waste or causing pain and suffering. Why must we constantly take and take what is not ours to take?
Author: Felisa McCarver
Author Bio: Felisa is a writer/producer that lives in Nashville, Tennessee with a soft spot for animal welfare and environmentalism.
Link to social media or website: http://felisamccarver.com