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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I want to know what Bill Maher has to say about this...
I know what he'd say: This isn't any different than Christians believing in a fluffy place called heaven or a little red guy with a pitchfork. It's all so ridiculous. Religion is responsible for more wars, deaths, and destruction than any other single source. What are people so afraid of that they start believing in these notions and these book of fables? Face your fears logically--death is just death. Accept that and you're free from all the nonsense. And the world would be a better place, also.
Human sacrifice for religious purposes should also be allowed. It's in the Bible.
Well, since you put it that way....
On the other hand Wil, if you live in LA, where ya gonna find a virgin?
And, Will... You better stockpile some stones for when that daughter of yours has her period and goes outside.
Better check your history marginwalker!!!
um lets see, Native peoples have been living in North America for more than 10,000 years. Europeans first settled America in the 1600's.
I cannot believe the number of ignorant and hateful comments towards Native Americans. They were here in this land first, and like everyone in the United States, they have a right to their own religious practices. These ceremonies have been around long before Europeans even settled in North America.
Just because something has been around for ever or it's a tradition, it doesn't make it right. We used to stone people to death as per the bible. Should we continue that also because it's been done in the past?
This is absolutely stupid to allow. Poliitical correctness CORRUPTION at its worst. Murdering innocent animals!
It's called RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, something that everyone in this country has a right to.
Well then... I'm starting a "religion" that states that anyone who believes in crap like this is an idiot and should be shot. With your logic, I should be protected by the government, right?!
How many people in how man tribes are going to step up now and demand to kill eagles? At what point do we get the guts to say no? If the ACLU butts in, I hope that animal rights people hire lawyers too.
Thank you!!! Not only does the eagle feather do nothing, but neither does a cross, or a star, or the bible or anything else considered "religious" for that matter. This isn't any different than Christians believing in a fluffy place called heaven or a little red guy with a pitchfork. It's all so ridiculous. Religion is responsible for more wars, deaths, and destruction than any other single source. What are people so afraid of that they start believing in these notions and these book of fables? Face your fears logically--death is just death. Accept that and you're free from all the nonsense. And the world would be a better place, also.
Watch the eagle soar. True religion would be to honor the eagle, the creature that fly's higher then any other and see,s everything. Lower your rifle or bow, the real religion is watching it soar...not watching it fall from the sky, bloodied and dead. This symbol should be honored alive. Pagan religion that suggest animal slaughter will send you right to Hell
Yeah.... You sounded logical until you mentioned some mythical placed called "hell" where a little red man with a pitchfork roams. Seriously?!! I can't believe in this day and age people still seriously believe in stuff like this.
All these comments defending the bald eagles here and all the hyper-Christian spiels to go with it, and not a one about how the national bird is about to be slaughtered at the hands of Pagans. I'm beginning to think our fundamentalists are going soft. 🙂
The Germans were the first people in the new world....I do not see any Casinos on their land! Where is my compensation from the Indians who stole my peoples land? I do love Bald Eagles though!
Ugh...where did you learn history?
Are you stupid? The name Native Americans meant that they were there BEFORE anyone discovered the new world. Add in the evidence that they crossed the Aleutian bridge centuries before Amerigo Vespucci or the Viking set foot in North America. Read a book, Germans were not first
Boy are you confused. Columbus was german? Leif Erikson was German? I suppose you're asserting the new world was discovered by Bismark, or Kaiser Wilhelm?
who gives a f@*ck about a dam bird? when we go overseas and murder innocent civilians, women and children. We hate blacks , hispanics, native Americans ,Arabs, etc. Kill all the birds!!
Fool...Why should anything be killed....But I see your point protect the people that kill the animal, there will be a point in time where there will be no animals left. Guess you'll will just have to each other. So lame
You are one retarded moron...
Hey, If I worship my own ass, does that make it holy (hole-y)?
why don't these indians shoot two indians instead of the eagles? I always heard the only good indian was a dead indian!
Wow what a racist and ignorant thing to say.
Shouldn't it be Choctaw, not Choetaw?
There are wildlife rehabbers who have access to feathers of birds that don't survive – that should provide feathers enough for tribes. Religious observations that call for an animal to be slaughtered are as out of date and foul as those calling for human sacrifice. A diety that calls for blood to be spilt should be retired from active duty.
Yes, please tell me what other religious ideas I should and should not follow!! It is good to see that we finally have one here who can tell us which religion is right!!!! Which is it?!?! It's scientology, right? right?
Awww somehope, does having to forego a blood sacrifice cramp your style?
Go back to your computer games sweetie, you're getting upset.
I was going to say the same thing. I volunteered at a wildlife rehab center in WA and they had thousands of eagle feathers in a box as well as the frozen bodies of several adult eagles. I dont' see them sending the feathers off to a national "repository". The indians should be granted a permit to get feathers from rehab centers, or the centers should send all feathers to local tribes who can then share with other tribes.
Ed, that's a good idea!
Ed, that makes way too much logical sense for the delusional.
For all the people disrespecting the Native American culture... You no longer have the right to have turkey or ham on Thanksgiving or Christmas.. Grow up people we came and destroyed there land and forced them out of their homes. How would you feel if you were forced out of your homes and had to live in small reservation just to keep your native way of life??
Well, if you want to think of it that way, that having taken over the territory, the government owes tribes a few eagles, why not show it by giving up any land you own to a family of Native Americans. My Greatgrandmother was Cherokee and I guaranatee you she'd have sooner had a nice house than a few feathers.
that happen 200 years ago the poor eagles way should their be put to death for what the white man did
So the eagles are offered up as consolation prizes?
It is hurting sentiments of Hindu. Eagle is Gods vehicle for Hindu and Eagle is worshiped. Please don't kill Eagles may it be 1 or 2
So you are passionate about life of eagle but not chickens that you use for Chicken biryani or Goat Biryani ? What a shame.
I agree that not even one eagle should be allowed to be killed. Surely the native Americans can use something symbolically for the eagle. It breaks my heart to think of killing one for " traditional purposes". This is something that should be addressed for the future. Start a new tradition to honor the eagle and customs in a more symbolic way. PLEASE.
SB, there's chicken in goat biryani? How strange. You do realize that your analogy is totally ridiculous, as both of the animals you mentioned are domesticated and easily bred? The Bald Eagle is a wild animal that just came off of the endangered species list a little less than 5 years ago.
"why would we want to kill the eagles?" Buddy didn't you apply for a permit to kill eagles which detailed the reasons why?
"why would we want to kill ALL the eagles". Buddy, if your goin to quote somebody, get it right. Do not take words out of context to back up your sour opinions on the matter. Good day to you.
What's next. Are we going to grant them a permit to do whatever the hell they want? Who cares if they are "Native American." I was born in this country, can I go kill eagles for my own purposes? No.
They were here way before you and the bird meant something to them wayyyyy before we even thought of it!!!!!
If you are so passionate about life in general, stop eating all the cows, chickens, pigs and fish. They are also animals and have life and feel pain. Why worry about just eagles ? Hypocrisy at its best.
America needs to give permits to let uneducated and intolerant people like you from ever speaking. Oh wait, the GOP primary debates...