I am mad.
Under the Federal Migratory Bird Act is is illegal for any non-native american to own, buy or sell the majority of bird feathers that exist in North America. The exceptions to this are birds raised for meat, competition, or game birds (chickens, turkeys, pheasants, crows, to name a few). Even Native Americans must turn in any feathers they find and then wait for a permit to use and own them. Now, obviously this does not work for Native Americans, or anyone else practicing earth-based religions.
But that’s not what makes me made. This is: Instead of just lifting the ban on the collection of migratory bird feathers and carcasses where & when they drop, and keeping it illegal to hunt migratory birds, the government is allowing two eagles to be hunted for native american spiritual decorations.
I wonder how the eagles feel about this government “protection.” They drop their feathers on a regular basis. Anyone who has been near an eagle preserve or nest knows this. But anyone who finds a feather or carcass is supposed to either leave it to rot, or report it to the government so they can keep it for months before handing it over, in poor condition, to the Native Americans. This is government mis-management at its worst.
Two bald eagles may be legally hunted by members of the Arapaho, a Native American nation, after the group received a rare permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, reported the AP.
For the Arapaho and other native American groups, bald eagle feathers and other body parts have been sacred implements since long before Columbus’ fateful voyage. But the U.S. Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 made hunting bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) or even collecting the feathers from dead birds illegal.
Native Americans have to content themselves with feathers parceled out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Eagle Repository. Over 5000 Native Americans are currently on the waiting list, according to the Repository’s website. They can expect to wait about three and a half years to receive whole eagles.
When the birds finally arrive, they are often rotten or otherwise unfit for religious use, said Nelson P. White Sr., a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, to the AP after a 2007 court hearing in which another Arapaho, Winslow Friday, was fined after killing an eagle for use in a Sun Dance ceremony.
“That’s unacceptable,” said White.
“How would a non-Indian feel if they had to get their Bible from a repository?” White asked.
The permit to hunt the eagles didn’t come without a fight. The Arapaho filed for the permit to kill bald eagles for ceremonial use over three years ago. Then last year the tribe filed a lawsuit against the US Fish and Wildlife Service in a delayed response to the punishment of Winslow Friday.
“One of the goals of the current suit is to prevent any young men like Winslow Friday from being prosecuted in the future for practicing their traditional religious ceremonies,” Andy Baldwin, the Arapaho’s lawyer, said in the AP.
Bald eagles were removed from the US endangered species list in 1995. The massive raptors are now considered a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.