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August 05, 2005

Worship nature: kill an eagle

From the San Luis Obispo Tribune...

The black market begins around the salmon runs, where gorging eagles are easy prey for poachers; it arrives in the United States tucked in the suitcases of smugglers; and it fans out across America, where investigators sometimes refer to eagles as "flying $1,000 bills."...

According to wildlife officials in Canada and the United States, the parts find their way to uses ranging from high-end artwork to Wiccan ceremonies. But officials say the biggest demand is at Native American powwows, where feathered regalia can help competitive dancers win thousands of dollars in prizes....

Their sacred status means their parts are often needed for religious ceremonies. Indians traditionally killed the birds sparingly, accompanied by prayer and thanks and elaborate rituals. And for years, this wasn't a problem. Eagles were plentiful....

In 1940, Congress passed the Bald Eagle Act to outlaw the killing, possession or sale of eagles. Later, Congress added golden eagles to the act...

Native Americans, however, were given some leeway under the act: They may possess eagle parts that have been handed down through the generations, and they may get new eagles through a federal repository, where dead eagles from zoos or those found in the wild are sent for distribution to tribes.

There's just one problem: There are thousands of Native Americans who want parts, but not enough repository eagles to go around. Sometimes it takes as long as four years to get a bird.

A lot of new age type also “collect” eagle feathers as part of their “earth worship” stuff. It's hard to get these people to understand that you don't have to kill something to worship it. And even if it's just a feather, by paying for it, you're empowering the people that kill them.

It should also be noted (since the MSM never do) that there are quite a few Native Americans who do not belief in these older religions. There's a sizable percentage that are Christians, and do not participate in some of the rituals.

Posted by Danny Carlton at August 5, 2005 11:21 AM

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