March 15th, 2012
10:33 PM ET
Feds grant Native American tribe permit to kill bald eagles for religious purposes
By Eric Fiegel, CNN
Washington (CNN) - It's the symbol of America, and for the first time, the U.S. government has granted a Native American tribe a permit to kill two bald eagles for religious purposes.
The permit application was filed in 2008 by the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming and, after years of review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued it on March 9.
"They did make a case for why the take of a bird from the wild was necessary," Matt Hogan, Denver regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service, told CNN.
Last year, the tribe filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the federal government for denying the application, saying it "unreasonably burdens the religious rights of tribal members," court documents stated.
The case is pending.
Hogan, who was in charge of granting the permit, says the lawsuit was not the reason the permit got approved when it did. He says it took time to make sure all the criteria were met and that the permit was in accordance with the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which allows bald eagles to be used by Native Americans in religious ceremonies.
The eagle "flies higher then any other creature. It sees many things. It's closer to the Creator," said Robert Holden, deputy director of the National Congress of American Indians. Holden said he was bothered by the comments he was hearing: that this permit would lead to a mass killing of bald eagles.
"How stupid can that be?" he said. "It's a religion. It's what we do. We're more concerned about the eagle population than any culture in this Western Hemisphere. Why would we want to kill all the eagles?"
Hogan said the permit's issuance will have little effect on the powerful raptor. Taking two eagles from the wild "will not in any way jeopardize the status of the eagle population, either in the state of Wyoming or nationwide," he said, "and the good news is bald eagles are doing quite well."
That wasn't the case some 70 years ago, when the species was threatened with extinction, leading Congress to pass a law prohibiting the killing, selling or possession of the bird. In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the threatened and endangered species list.
Hogan said applications for a permit to kill or capture a bald eagle are rare. Native Americans often have to get bald eagle feathers for their ceremonies from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife national feather repository in Denver. Hogan said it can take years for the tribes to get the feathers this way, because demand often exceeds supply.
Holden, who is part Choetaw/Shickasaw, sought to put some perspective on the situation: "If someone ordered a Bible or some religious artifact and they had to wait for a long time, how fair is that?"
The permit is good until February 2013, and Hogan said he knows of no other applications being filed. As part of permit, the tribe has to notify the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within 24 hours once the bald eagles are killed or captured.
Hogan said he is still waiting for that word.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Absolutely not! Killing an animal for any religious purposes is a contradiction in itself. Whomever it is can use a replica of an Eagle to symbolize a real Eagle. They do not need to kill a living Eagle to worship the Almighty. Comparing killing an animal for a religious ritual to destroying a bible or a relic is ridiculous. Once you destroy the bible you can print another one. Once you kill the Eagle it is gone for good. The bible is an innate object. The person reading the bible is what keeps the words alive, not the book itself. There is absolutely no reason that would be good enough to KILL an Eagle or any other living mammal. Killing is an act of someones EGO. Preserving life is what matters. The American Bald Eagle represents the soul of America.
1) You have a very poor understanding of religion.
2) What right do you have to tell these people how to practice their religion? If you are religious, I guarantee your religion is no more right than theirs, but I guarantee it is equally wrong.
3) This is simply proof that terrible things have been done, are done, and will be done in thename of religion.
4) If you're worried about the terrible things religion does, do something to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing. As much as I have a profound respect and love of nature, the absence of 2 eagles of a thriving species is not nearly as much of a priority as some Basque separatists blowing up a city bus full of children.
Hmmm, But killing an animal for its excellent taste is just fine..right!...hope your are a true vegetarian. And at least the Aprahoe don't stone their own loved ones and friends to death if they convert to another religion. While I place a high value on preserving wildlife I prefer to know ALL of the facts before condemning someone based on the initial facts. And in truth its easy to see how any liberal minded person (not the smart ones) would jump on this parade to trash a group of people because they LEGALLY pursued and were APPROVED for this practice of THEIR religious ceremony. So whether your religious, or just someone who bashes anyone that hates anyone that believes in a higher power than themselves...BUTT OUT!
religion: the means to justify idiotic, ignorant actions of others.
i think i will start my own religion and claim my god wants me to sacrifice puppies by decapitation....
this world is too much sometimes...
How about my religion, I kill indians.
MSL, go for it.
religion is the stupid man's common sense
Absolutely ridiculous...both the justification for granting the permit and the reason for requesting the permit.
This country takes its symbols entirely too seriously.
Then leave the country.. I certainly do not want you here and would take great pride in walking you to the borfder.. The native Americans are beyond ridiculous.. these clowns still need bird feathers for their religious nonsense ?? Really... stupis and absurd..
So some innocent birds have to be killed so a bunch of people can dance around with their feathers. I thought Indians respected all life. This will open up other morons wanting eagle remains. What a shame.
If you do some research, I think you'll find that the traditional native American philosophies are far more respectful of other species and the overall ecosystem than most mainstream Americans, from the frontier days to now, can claim to be. Native Americans killed deer, buffalo, and other animals for food, their skins or feathers, and sometimes spiritual reasons, but they killed with respect, recognizing the animals' contribution to the survival of the tribe. This is clearly something that not all of the conquering hordes grasp.
"There. Are. No. Gods!"... Prove it. You have as much evidence as your opposite number. The real reason there is so much dying in the world today is the idea that anyone has the right to tell someone else how to believe or think. (That, and we are mortal, why is there so much dying? because none of us get out of here alive).
"The real reason there is so much dying in the world today...."
In case you're wondering, here is where you lose all credibility.
Absolutely not! Killing an animal for religious purposes is contradicting the whole idea. Whomever it is can use a replica of an Eagle to symbolize a real Eagle. They do not need to kill a living Eagle to worship the Almighty. Justify killing an animal for a ritual to destroying a bible or a replica is ridiculous. Once you destroy the bible you can print another one. Once you kill the Eagle it is gone for good. The bible is an innate object. The person reading the bible is what keeps the words alive, not the book itself. There is absolutely no reason good enough to KILL an Eagle or any other living mammal. Killing is an act of someones EGO, nothing else.
Right, 'cause this is a religion you practice and honor. Get a grip – Catholics perform ritual sacrifice every time they get a wafer and some wine. Who are you to say that this group's way of practicing religion is wrong?
Catholics don't use real human bodies or blood.
KIlling Eagles is so much worse than killing humans for worshiping satan, worshiping another faith, being gay or mentally disabled, or supposedly practicing witchcraft.
"There is absolutely no reason good enough to KILL an Eagle or any other living mammal. "
You mean other than for food, right?
And uh... Eagles aren't mammals.
Of course you are a vegetarian, at least I hope you are, otherwise you are being very hypocritical. As a vegetarian, I agree with what you are saying; even killing for our own luxury of enjoying flesh is wrong.
Hey, if it was okay for Paul, then who are we to question it? (Acts 21:26)
Aren't plants alive too?
Can't they kill something else or why do the have to kill at all? Doesn't this fall under animal cruelty. We haven't let it happen before so why ruin a good record? Animal ritual sacrificing is kind of out dated. I feel bad about what we've done and all. But it doesn't give us the right to do the wrong thing.
I think this should be thrown out I am not being unfair here. At first it's two bald eagles Americas pet. What next cows or buffalo. For the last week I've had two bald eagles in my tree. They don't bother anybody well apart from other birds but I can understand that.
Plastic feathers are pretty cheap and have the same power as eagle feathers. Also, the tribe can buy tons of plastic feathers for as many rituals as they want instead of being limited to the carcasses of two birds.
People....remember, the Native Americans were here first. Their religions were here first. We made the eagle a National Symbol long after we arrived here. We are suppose to be a country that respects religious freedoms. I see ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with them continueing their religious practices. More power to them.
Jim...well if they can do it maybe theres a religion out there that wants to have a virgin sacrifice..why not? or slaughter goats downtown? The world is so great with religions in it .....burn a book and the whole world gets threatened... kill an animal to please a myth ....its so stupid.
one day people will look back on these decisions like how we look at the salem witch trials, the crusades, etc.
religion is ignorance in its finest and a blight on humanity.
Didn't we conquer them and now we have to put up with them? Realistically = They have the highest alcoholic, uneducated, and domestic rates! Why do we tolerate it!? There are many religions that have adapted to current living, why should they be given special permission, here in Colorado we have repository that grants Indians American Eagle Feathers, but of course the bird is already dead. Plus we conquered them and they can deal with it! Bald Eagle is protected and they are making Billions from us with their Casinos. Get with the times!
Everyone is criticizing these people religions and what they do to satisfy their religion forget that your own religion requires a lot of you just as bad. If you christians only look at what the bible requires you to do you'd probably be shocked to find out that at times, you're required to kill. Even today, we have christian extremists killing doctors that perform abortions or bomb abortion clinics, some even bash and kill gay people. All in the name of their christian beliefs.
I believe in religious freedom, however the killing of a bald eagle, the symbol of this country
by such spiritual people and the American Indians is a sad thing.
Whats worse thing is the Federal Gov allowing this killing of our American Symbol.
What was the quote "Killing only two wont do any harm"
How sad that you see it that way.
Its sad that the USA is falling back into the dark ages.
For the Indian nation that is getting permits for this crime, I felt the Indians were better than this but I was wrong.
I have no respect for your people anymore.
What kind of god do you worship that requires this, if you want to fly so high and see so much get some
peyote, at least you wont have to kill a Eagle.
For the Govt officials that sanctioned this, shame on you all.
They were here LONG before the bird was the symbol of our country.
I mean, I don't really care about 2 of these Eagles, but this is a bit sad and sorry. However, "Indians" is a completely incorrect term to be using today. Native American is the politically correct usage. And I am sure that the average American has done way more to destroy animals and other natural resources in this country and the world. I say slaughter the two birds!
Natives have been doing this way before there was an America. Whats more SAD is that the government allows HUNTING in certain parts of the country and thats just for fun. Part of the reason we even have the bald eagle as a national bird is because we adopted many of the native symbols and democracies. Their god is mother nature its not a person place or thing, Its the environment and all that gives us life that is their god.
you should check out the Yurok tribes impact on the Klammath river in northern ca. the fact that any salmon actually make it up river to spawn is an incredible feat given the amount of nets at the mouth of the river and the NA who use JETBOATS on each side of the river with a net between the two to "catch" fish...
if they want to kill the birds and the fish they are supposed to revere, how about making them do it without the technology provided by the white man
I'll bet you don't feel sorry for the cows and chickens you eat. Hypocrisy!
"How stupid can that be?" he said. "It's a religion...
That pretty much says it all.
I say kill as many as they can and cook them all up like Turkey.
Your name says it all!
You are the turkey we should cook!
It's people like you that have made me lose my faith in humanity.
Good job. I'm glad we have Obama looking out for the non-whites!
This is one of them...the STUPID – KILLER
So SAD and so WRONG!
Killing any creature for any reason other than for food is WRONG!! I dont care what's it's for...what is wrong with you people are you just stupid??? Lets see taking 2 lives for religious purposes – give me a break!! This world of killers is just making me ill...everyday we hear of more and more animals killings. They are here to help us understand how to be one with nature and all we can do is kill them for stupid reasons and believe me this is one, so bottom line there are a bunch of STUPID PEOPLE IN CHARGE...maybe the answer is lets just get RID OF THEM INSTEAD!! I vote for that one...god save the creatures large and small the swim, walk and crawl on the earth. I'm against this 110% and so should the rest of the world.
So, are you sure no-one will eat the eagles? Really? How are you sure?
By your argument, I don't get why it's okay to kill for food. What makes my desire for food trump the animal's right to live? (I am not a vegetarian, I'm just saying, your argument doesn't make sense.)
Whatever...And how is killing for food right? Unless you are in a survival situation with no available plant protein, killing for food is nothing but pleasure and luxury. Not any more right than ancient religious use. One might even argue more wrong, as killing for food when it isn't necesary is pure hedonism. Are you starting to smell the hypocrisy? Funny all these flesh-eaters getting all worked up over this. You're all hypocrites!
Absolutely not! Killing an animal for religious purposes is contradicting the whole idea. Whomever it is can use a replica of an Eagle to symbolize a real Eagle. They do not need to kill a living Eagle to worship the Almighty. Justify killing an animal for a ritual to another religion's bible or any other replica is ridiculous. Once you destroy the bible you can print another one. Once you kill the Eagle it is gone for good. The bible is an innate object. The person reading the bible is what keeps the words alive, not the book itself. There is absolutely no reason good enough to KILL an Eagle or any other living mammal. Killing is an act of someones EGO, nothing else.
What about all the sacrificing in the bible?
I think you meant "inanimate" object, and I know for sure, an eagle isn't a mammal. Maybe you're a vegan, and good for you, but there needs to be a reasonable accommodation of the native American heritage, assuming their observances are sincere (i.e., the eagle feathers don't show up in tourist souvenirs).
Their God is mother nature ////. Its ok to kill millions of Turkeys to celebrate thanksgiving? Its two bald eagles they've been doing it way before there was even an America. I wonder what your reaction would be if they asked for their land back.
This is outrageous!
How many other religious cults-yes, Navajo religion is a cult just like all religions-are we gonna allow to kill whatever they please to satisfy their particular narrow-minded ignorance?
I'm sorry, but the fact of the matter is this:
The United States conquered the native people who lived here when we took over. This is now AMERICA, not the "Navajo Nation." There IS NO Navajo nation; there is only the United States, the Navajo live on Federal land, they are American Citizens, and all Navajo people live under United States law. The Navajo shouldn't be allowed to kill a protected animal to satisfy their religious beliefs any more than any other religious cult should.
Yeah, yeah, so the people who came before us mistreated the native people when they conquered them. We also mistreated the slaves and their descendents, but do we give African Americans the right to kill whatever they please in order to satisfy whatever religious belief they hold as "African Americans"?
This is ridiculous.
These people have no right to kill one of my eagles!
Someone needs to stop this!
Remember that sentiment the next time some business with "religious affiliations" asks to be exempt from a federal law requiring health care coverage (including birth control) on "moral grounds".
Hey, goofball. You must, with all your knowledge, certainly be aware that the reservations for Native Americans do not fall under the same laws as all the invaders. Get a grip, and practice YOUR religion the way YOU want to and leave everyone's religious practices well enough alone.
Joe – While you were busy ranting about the issue, you failed to notice that you were ranting about the wrong tribe. Your accusatory rant is against the NAVAJO Tribe, when paragraph two of the article clearly states that the permit was filed by the Northern ARAPAHO Tribe. Before you rant, get your facts straight or else your ranting just seems asinine.
JOE = blah blah blah
Religious kooks strike again.
I'm sure they say the same about your religion.
Ah religion, the reason for so much dying in the world today. There. Are. No. Gods!
You're right. If only the world was more like those warm, cuddly atheists Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Castro, what a wonderful world it would be . . .
o Religion………………………… Adherents
Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion
Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion
Irreligious/agnostic/atheism 1.1 billion (including Bill Gates and Warren Buffet)
Hinduism 900 million
Chinese traditional religion 394 million
Buddhism 376 million
Animist religions 300 million
African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
Sikhism 23 million
Juche 19 million
Spiritism 15 million
Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million
Baha'i 7 million
Jainism 4.2 million
Shinto 4 million
Cao Dai 4 million
Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
Tenrikyo 2 million
Neo-Paganism 1 million
Unitarian Universalism 800,000
Rastafari Movement 600,000