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Old 06-20-2008, 10:16 AM   #9
eap7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grayback View Post

I think sometimes we're ALL missing the point. I had a reply in the thread on 'eagle feathers', which basically says that I don't understand why we're suddenly relying upon the Feds and the Repository to present us with the feathers we need for spiritual reasons.

We shouldn't be begging the Feds for feathers. , and handing the extra feathers over to his community's spiritual men and women, so they can be handed out to those in need, or through ceremonies?

The shortage of eagle feathers isn't a "problem" the Feds should have to be solving 'for' us via the repository.

Ideally, I'd like to see the repository become something only tribally recognised elders and spiritual leaders can even get feathers from. They can then distribute them as they see fit, to those who earn the right to them, or who pass through ceremonies where they are typically handed out (namings, for instance). They could be handed out to pipemakers and staff makers.

-grayback
Hi grayback, I appreciate your response but I have to disagree with some of your points. Are many eagle feathers a trend? You're probably right, but I'm not a men's traditional dancer so I really can't say. I disagree with your statements that we shouldn't look to "the feds" to solve the problem of high demand for eagle feathers. The federal government has trust and other responsibilities to our federally recognized nations. Allowing free practice of our spiritual beliefs is guaranteed by the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Until this was passed in 1978, many Indians couldn't obtain eagle feathers and other things to practice their traditions. So maybe you or I think that maybe lots of eagle feathers are a trend. I can't judge people as a whole unless I go up to and question every person about if they use them for spiritual practices, earned them, whatever. I guess I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, rather than try to change this act or otherwise restrict eagle feathers. In my view, that's probably what the federal government wants, since it often likes to reduce or get rid of responsibilities to Indian tribes.

I also think its dangerous to say that only certain Indian people can obtain feathers- spiritual leaders, elders, etc. I'm sure we can all think of members of federally recognized tribes who have sold ceremonies to whites or other Indians. There was an issue a few years ago up here in Boston where a self-proclaimed spiritual leader from Pine Ridge was selling sweatlodge ceremonies to the highest bidder. Its sad to say but like you said, if eagle feathers are the new money, there will always be someone willing to sell as long as there is a demand- which clearly there is, and a big one. Why should we let the eagle repository limit who they distribute to? I think people would be upset if the federal government made rules saying who can and can't be a spiritual leader, elder, or worthy of receiving eagle feathers. Leaving it up to the tribe would probably cause problems too, because then it might come down to who's on council, who is part of what family, who's mad at who. I just think it would become really political. Like you said, all the feathers we need are here, they're just unevenly distributed! Maybe I'm too pessimistic, I don't know, but I don't think limiting who can receive them would more evenly distribute them. I also don't know the answer to the larger problem of demand for eagle feathers so its good to hear your view even though I don't agree with all of it.
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