Posts Tagged ‘lorna thackeray’

“…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.

Jenna Cederberg

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