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Old 03-26-2007, 04:30 PM   #64
Wakalapi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntownn8ive View Post
Haven't really read thru this thread thoroughly, but I got this in the mail, anyone know either of these dudes?:

EVENT ORGANIZER ALERT
Greetings,
Although for several years I have attempted to curtail the activities of Edward Arthur Pilert III, aka Ed Winddancer (http://www.edwinddancer.com/), my attempts have been futile due to the vast amount of shamery involved with American Indian events throughout the United States. Mr. Pilert has attempted to pass himself off as Lakota, at other times as a Cherokee and recently and most currently as a Nanticoke. He belongs to none of these nations or tribes.
In 2005 Mr. Pilert bartered eagle feathers with an undercover agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over several occasions. Subsequently, Mr. Pilert was charged by Federal authorities and a disturbing number of protected bird parts were found in his motorhome. The bird parts and motorhome were confiscated.
Last year Mr. Pilert filed a Motion to Dismiss the Indictment. It makes for interesting reading and I have provided the link so that you can read the opinion that was rendered. I've inserted a small section of the opinion below. Please pay close attention to the second paragraph.
Shortly, Mr. Pilert will be tried in Federal Court. I sincerely hope that he receives the maximum penalties for his crimes. However, I am more concerned that this person not remain a welcome representative of American Indian culture and American Indians at any event in the United States. Mr. Pilert has sucked money and fame from his false and erroneous misrepresentations and now has blighted American Indians nationwide. The time has come for this to end. I hope you agree.
Jimmy Boy Dial
Editor, The Spike
www.thespike.com
http://www.animallaw.info/cases/causfd2006wl1722432.htm (Michigan University College of law)
United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
U.S. v. Winddancer
United States
2006 WL 1722432 (M.D.Tenn.)
[EXCERPT]
1. A Sincere Exercise of Religion
The defendant bears the initial burden of demonstrating that the regulations at issue substantially burden a sincere religious belief. Yoder, 406 U.S. at 215 (beliefs that are "philosophical and personal rather than religious ... [do] not rise to the demands of the Religion Clauses"). Although the defendant has shown that the BGEPA substantially burdens his ability to possess eagle feathers--under BGEPA, he may not possess them--he has not shown that his desire to possess the feathers arises from a sincere religious belief.
The defendant has identified at least some Native American ancestry on both sides of his genealogy. According to the defendant, his father had Cherokee ancestry, and his mother Nanticoke ancestry. (Docket No. 30 at p. 2-3.) In addition, he alleges to have been formally admitted as an associate member to the Nanticoke tribe (which is not federally recognized), and to have been adopted by a Lakota family. (Id.) He is not a member of the Lakota tribe, however, or the Cherokee tribe. (Id.) According to the materials attached to the defendant's brief, the Nanticoke people are indigenous to Delaware. (Docket No. 30, Ex. 2.) The Cherokee tribe and Lakota tribe are each, respectively, located in different geographic areas. The people of these tribes each practice their own religions; however, the defendant does not identify which of them, if any, he practices. Rather, he alleges to be a "sincere adherent to a bona fide Native American religion," and that he "exercises that religion through sacred dances." (Docket No. 30 at p. 3.) The defendant does not support that allegation with any documents or affidavits, nor does he identify to which specific Native American religion he adheres. Therefore, he has not met his initial burden under the RFRA to demonstrate that his possession of eagle feathers arises from a sincere religious belief, and not a cultural or philosophical expression. See, e.g., Diaz v. Collins, 114 F.3d 69, 72 (5th Cir.1997) (defendant bears the burden of demonstrating a substantial burden to a sincere religious belief).
[END]
Just a quick comment that according to Mr. Wind Dancer's website, he was adopted into the Medicine family at Wakpala, SD. My family is also from Wakpala, but I haven't been "back home" since I was 13 and do not know the Medicines or their reason behind making a familial adoption. Being adopted by one family, however, is not the same as being adopted by a tribe or nation. I do not have to accept Mr. Wind Dancer as "my relative" based on his adoption by the Medicine family, and neither do descendants of any other family. Though, I guess, if were to become friends I suppose that would be our choices. There appears to be no legal basis* for the man to possess eagle feathers based solely on that adoption. As far as a cultural basis or sacred reasons, I am not in the position of authority to affirm or rebuke that decision.

*I am not an attorney at law. I have not achieve a Doctorate of Jurisprudence nor passed the Bar Exam in any State. Use my legal advice at your own risk. I like pizza and walks on the beach. At the same time. So stay off the beach when I'm driving.
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