“…They are critical and essential to our survival.”
But the wait is long for Natives seeking bald and golden eagle feathers.
There’s only one way to get them, through the National Eagle Repository.
An eagle carcass is processed at the National Eagle Repository in Denver. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Billings Gazette reporter Lorna Thackeray describes the process and the frustrations
faced by many in her story on the long waits for eagle feathers.
The repository, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, receives about 2,400 eagle carcasses a year, said Dennis Wiist, a wildlife specialist there.
The list of American Indians waiting for an eagle is twice that long.
Eagles can’t be killed legally and their parts can’t be sold, transported, traded, imported or exported. Even possession of post-Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act eagle parts requires a permit. Eagle parts can be handed down through families or given to other Native Americans for religious purposes. They can’t be given to a non-Indian.
“It’s an awkward situation,” said Conrad Fisher, historic preservation officer for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. “Eagle feathers have been used for thousands of years by Native Americans. They probably go back to the genesis.
. . .
The wait depends on whether the applicant wants a whole eagle, feathers or other parts, Wiist said. Those seeking miscellaneous feathers usually get them within three months, he said. Those seeking a higher quality of loose feathers may have to wait six months.
In other eagle news, here’s an NPR story from the Wind River Reservation, where the tribe was approved to hunt two bald eagles.
Carlson “Duke” Goes Ahead is sworn in by Chief Judge Julie Yarlott as newly elected members of the Crow Legislature, friends and family gather at the Apsaalooke Center for the inauguration on Monday. (LARRY MAYER/Gazette Staff )
It’s been a full decade since the Crow people ratified their constitution for the Crow Indian Reservation.
On Monday, as the Billings Gazette reports, the tenth set of legislators were sworn in there to the sounds of a Crow warrior song.
Master of ceremonies Robert “Corky” Old Horn told the audience that in the time before the Crow people lived on the reservation, Crow warriors would sing a similar song when they returned from battle against other tribes.
“These were the songs that were sung by the warriors when they would come home victorious,” he said. “And it’s very appropriate to sing such a song to honor our senators that have been re-elected and a new elected senator, along with our veterans who are among the audience here.”
Veteran legislator Carlson “Duke” Goes Ahead gave the keynote speech.
“We collectively represent all the Crow people,” he said. “And whatever legislation we pass affects all of us in one way or another. And so there’s a lot of thought and intent that goes into drafting these laws.
Legislators learn from each other and they learn from their mistakes, Goes Ahead said. The Bible talks about a righteous man falling and getting back up, he told his audience.
“God created us to stand up and move forward,” he said, adding that the Crow people need God to move forward.
Click here to see a photo gallery from the event by Gazette photographer Larry Mayer.
The Crow Fair
Junior Miss Crow Nation Pixie Real Bird, right, and Nicole Real Bird Cummins will be featured at Crow Fair this year. (Photo by DAVID GRUBBS/Gazette Staff)
has always been a time for new beginnings, as Susan Olp from the Billings Gazette reports:
“We kind of consider Crow Fair like what you’d think of New Year’s,” said Nicole Real Bird Cummins, parade manager for the event, which (started) Thursday and runs through Tuesday.
Goals are set for the next year. And, as with any holiday, families get together for food and fun and to catch up on news.
As the people of the Crow Indian Reservation in eastern Montana recover from massive spring floods, the idea of a fresh start is more important than ever. The daunting work of cleaning up began earlier in anticipation of the annual event.
This summer, getting ready for the 93rd annual Crow Fair has been a bit more of a challenge, said April Toineeta, Crow tribal liaison, who has helped efforts in the aftermath of the spring flooding that deluged the reservation town.
Water flooded the campsite, Toineeta said, damaging the entrance road and electrical outlets. That’s all being fixed in time for the start of Crow Fair, she said.
Austin Little Light, this year’s Crow Fair manager, said part of his job has been to repair the arbor where the powwow takes place.
“We bought lumber and redid the roofs and the benches,” Little Light said.
ICTMN also has a story about the “a giant family reunion under the Big Sky.”
Kirstyn Enemy Hunter, 9, rides her bike in the floodwater in Lodge Grass on Tuesday. At that time, the water had started to recede. (DAVID GRUBBS/Gazette Staff)
As Lodge Grass, a small town on the Crow Agency in eastern Montana, slowly recovers from a flood that washed through there this week, plans are coming together in Washington, D.C., to give tribes better access to disaster funds.
The Billings Gazette continued its coverage of the Lodge Grass floods. Today, the Gazette reports the slow cleanup begins.
By Tuesday morning, a restoration crew had pumped an estimated 212,000 gallons of water from the basement of the Little Horn IGA here, but the ground was so saturated that more kept seeping in.
“It was a nasty mess in there,” store co-owner Doug McCormick said. “All the floors were just covered in mud.”
Rob Capriccioso, of ICTMN, reports from Washington:
On May 24, (Nick J.) Rahall, (D-WV) introduced legislation that he said “reinforces Indian tribe sovereignty during major disasters and emergency situations.” The bi-partisan bill would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to authorize tribes to directly request the President of the United States to release federal resources.
. . .
Tribal officials noted to Rahall that under current law, tribes that face a disaster or emergency situation must rely upon a state governor to ask the president for an emergency declaration, which in turn triggers federal resources. This process is harmful to tribal sovereignty, according to Indian leaders who say that as sovereign nations, tribes should be able to have a direct relationship with the federal government in emergency situations.
Dr. Janine Pease has been appointed head of the Crow Tribe's Department of Education. (BOB ZELLAR/Gazette Staff )
By SUSAN OLP, Of The Billings Gazette
Crow tribal chairman Cedric Black Eagle has appointed Dr. Janine Pease to head the tribe’s Education Department.
The Crow Legislature unanimously confirmed the cabinet-level appointment at a special session on Feb. 23.
In announcing Pease’s appointment, Black Eagle cited her extensive experience in education.
“Education for all the Crow people at all levels is a highest priority for our Crow national development,” he said. “Dr. Pease brings specific knowledge and experience of adult, vocational and college services, special programs for school-aged children, tribal language initiatives and workforce development training.”
Pease, a member of the Crow Tribe, will oversee a staff of eight. She holds both a master’s and a doctorate degree in adult and higher education from Montana State University.
Most recently, Pease was vice president for academic and vocational programs at Fort Peck Community College in Poplar for 2-½ years.
Before that, she was vice president for Indian Affairs and Planning and Rocky Mountain College for nearly five years. She also served on the Governor’s Kindergarten to College Task Group from 2006 to 2010 and on the Montana Board of Regents from 2006 until Feb. 1 of this year, when her term expired.
Read the rest of this entry »
Elouise Cobell (AP photo)
Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet) came one step closer to sealing a long-fought victory in her lawsuit against the Interior Department as the Senate on Friday approved the $3.4 billion settlement in a package. The legislation now moves to the House, where similar language has already been approved.
“It’s 17 below and the Blackfeet nation is feeling warm,” Cobell told the Associated Press. “I don’t know if people understand or believe the agony you go through when one of the beneficiaries passes away without justice.”
Here’s the full AP story on Missoulian.com.
You can read full statements from Elouise Cobell and President Barack Obama on the Senate vote at Jodi Rave’s blog, Buffalo’s Fire.
In other news,
U.S. Senate approves water rights settlements with Crow Tribe, others
The Senate also approved Friday several water rights settlements, including a a $462 million portion going to Montana’s Crow Tribe. Arizona’s White Mountain Apache Tribe and New Mexico’s Pueblo of Taos and a group of four other pueblos were also included in the almost $1 billion settlement.
The measure would guarantee the tribes’ rights to water resources, while the money attached to the settlement would help build safe drinking water and irrigation systems, the Associated Press reports.
“It opens the door to economic recovery for the tribe,” said Crow Chairman Cedric Black Eagle, whose tribe has long struggled with poverty. “We would have the potential to utilize Crow water for industrial use as well as commercial use, having safe drinking water, having an irrigation project.”
With 17 combat awards, Barney Old Coyote, Crow, 87, of Belgrade is the most decorated Native American to fight in WWII.
Here’s his story from KXLF out of Butte, Mont.
Old Coyote comes from a long line of Crow warriors. Through his pain, his scars of battle, the values of his tribe survive.
“I’ll think of the military thing. I’ll lay out medals and stuff and see pictures. I’ll say that wasn’t for me, that was for my people,” he said. “I don’t think about it all the time, but every once in a while I’ll just say a word or two of thanks and that’s it.”
It was a time to share tradition – how things were done in the “old days.”
Dr. Joe Medicine Crow, Chief of the Crow Nation for life, touched yet another generation with his humble ways and boundless wisdom at the hunting camp. (B.L. Azure photo)
Bernie Azure of the Char-Koosta newspaper on the Flathead Indian Reservation chronicled the activity at the four-day event during a visit to the third annual Salish hunting camp at the Agnes Vanderburg Camp last week. The camp brought together youth and elders to showcase the necessary tasks and teamwork used by tribes in the past to prepare for winter.
Originally conceptualized by Salish elder Johnny Arlee, this year’s coordinator Charlie Quequesah said the event helps recognize the importance of passing hunting traditions down to kids, to ensure the future generations too are connected to the culture.
The days at the hunting camp begin with a morning wake up song. The boys and hunting guides then take a quick dip in Valley Creek to clean up. Following a quick breakfast the males and guides split up in teams then hit the trail in search of game. A traditional blessing of thanks is performed for each animal felled in the field. Once animal is field dressed it is taken back to the hunting camp for the women to prepare.
Each year the traditional hunting camp has a special Indian elder guest who gives the keynote speech. This year, Dr. Joe Medicine Crow from the Crow Nation was chosen. The 97-year-old Medicine Crow is a World War II hero, Chief of the Crow Nation for life, an educator, historian and writer. He is a member of the Bozeman-based American Indian Institute’s Circle of Elders. The Institute was the main financial sponsor of the camp.
Tahnya LaForge, a senior at Senior High, practices an American Indian hoop game Wednesday while she waits to instruct other students at the school. LaForge is a Crow and was teaching other students games as part of American Indian Heritage Week. (Daviid Grubbs/Billings Gazette)
Think it looks easy, getting that hoop onto the stick? You try it. That’s what students did yesterday at Billings Senior High School in Montana, as part of American Indian Heritage Week.
The Native American Club has been featuring the week’s events, and yesterday, the feature was the Hoop Game as club members invited their fellow students to play.
“It’s hard,” said Tristan Balsam, a freshman, who tried out the game with classmate Miranda Millhollin, told Rob Rogers of the Billings Gazette.
Tahnya LaForge, a senior who is Crow, says it hasn’t been too difficult to get non-Native students interested in the events.
It should be even easier today. The feature? Indian tacos!
Scary story by the Associated Press from the Crow Reservation in southern Montana. Fortunately, at least according to early reports, it appears none of the children was seriously injured.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Officials say several third-graders were injured in Crow Agency when a pickup truck hit the float they were riding on before a parade meant to celebrate Native American Week.
Gene Grose, principal of Crow School, says the pickup hit a decorated flatbed carrying about 40 students Thursday morning. Witnesses say they think the pickup was traveling at about 35 mph.
The Billings Gazette reports that four ambulances, along with school buses, took the injured children to a Crow Agency hospital, where Grose says they were treated for minor “bumps and bruises.” It is unclear how many students were injured.
The principal says the parade, along with a feast for parents and a mini-powwow planned for the day were canceled because “there are too many traumatized kids and adults.”
The Bureau of Indian Affairs police department in Crow Agency is investigating.