Posted: Oct 12, 2012 6:21 PM by Victoria Fregoso-Q2 News
The Department of Justice has revised the guidelines for Native American tribes to possess or use eagle feathers. Eagle feathers have a great significance in religious and cultural ceremonies for Native American tribes. The policy covers all federally protected birds, bird feathers and bird parts.
"This new policy honors the past while looking to the future, contributing to the preservation of these species and ensuring that tribal members can continue their religious and cultural practices for generations to come," said Dan Ashe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director.
The decision was made after consultation with tribal leaders and groups this past summer.
If following these guidelines, tribal members will not be prosecuted:
• Possessing, using, wearing or carrying federally protected birds, bird feathers or other bird parts (federally protected bird parts);
• Traveling domestically with federally protected bird parts or, if tribal members obtain and comply with necessary permits, traveling internationally with such items;
• Picking up naturally molted or fallen feathers found in the wild, without molesting or disturbing federally protected birds or their nests;
• Giving or loaning federally protected bird parts to other members of federally recognized tribes, without compensation of any kind;
• Exchanging federally protected bird parts for federally protected bird parts with other members of federally recognized tribes, without compensation of any kind;
• Providing the feathers or other parts of federally protected birds to craftspersons who are members of federally recognized tribes to be fashioned into objects for eventual use in tribal religious or cultural activities.
Cedric Black Eagle, Chairman of the Crow Nation said the policy revision was much needed. "We hold the eagle in a sacred and high regard so not only do we want to preserve the species but we also want to be able to practice our culture and religious ways without worry or fear of arrest or false accusations." The Chairman continued with saying "this is a positive step by the Federal government to ensure that Native Americans, Crows in particular, are able to exercise their right to religious freedom."
Click here to review the policy fact sheet.