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Old 06-19-2008, 09:33 PM   #3
grayback
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From the article:
"Now, however, bald eagle feathers have been incorporated into the headdresses, despite the fact that "there's no religious significance" for using bald eagle features in Native American cultures, says Hancock. "The demand now is being driven by the powwow circuit," he charges. "It is demanding these feathers
from our west coast eagles, and it's the powwow circuit that unfortunately drives this market onwards."


I agree the powwow circuit, amongst other things, is driving a black market demand for feathers from both golden and bald eagles.

However, I've no idea where Hancock gets the idea that bald eagle feathers weren't used on traditional religious items. In pictures and drawings of items that WELL pre-date the year 1900, and certainly pre-date the existence of the Federal Wildlife Service, you can see bald eagle feathers. It's almost impossible to safely ID an adult bald eagle's dark plumage in a picture or drawing, but the spotted feathers of the juvenile bird are pretty unmistakable.

One of the ritual calumets collected by Lewis & Clark, now in the Smithsonian's collection, is adorned by spotted bald eagle feathers. You can't blame that on an 'artificial' demand created by the Federal government's policies. That's not the only example out there, it's just a handy one that popped to mind. You can also see spotted feathers on turn-of-the-century photos, in roaches and headdresses. They are very distinctive, although I agree they aren't 'commonly' found.

Maybe in the few plains tribes he has in mind, and with the few items he's thinking of (plains society bustles and such), they didn't use bald eagle feathers. I think one can argue, to some degree, that they may not have been the PREFERRED feathers for most items. But the juvenile bird's feathers always were, and are still, most certainly used here in the Great Lakes area... and there is evidence of it that goes back to the time when White Men were new to the country.

-grayback
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