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Old 08-11-2004, 06:03 PM   #1
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Bringing eagle feathers into US from Canada

This thread is for Canadian First Nations people wondering about American laws concerning bringing eagle feathers back and forth from the United States. This information is courtesy of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service:
___

May Indian people of Canada travel to and from the Unites States with eagle parts and eagle feathers?

As of February 1, 2003, Indian people of Canada who meet certain requirements may legally travel to and from the United States with lawfully possessed, personally owned eagle items for religious and cultural use.

What requirements must I meet?

You must

Possess and carry with you a "Certificate of Indian Status" card issued by the Federal Government of Canada. You will be asked to show this card when you enter the United States.
Declare your eagle items to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or the U.S. Customs Service when you enter or leave the United States at any border crossing or U.S. airport. To do this, you must complete and file an FWS Form 3-177 (Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife).
Limit your eagle items to those that will be used for religious and cultural practices.
Will U.S. officers ask to see my eagle items?

You may be asked to present your items for inspection. If you have concerns about the sacred or ceremonial nature of the items you are transporting, discuss them with the inspecting officer. Although you may still be asked to show the items, inspecting officers will avoid handling the articles and make every effort to show respect for your religious or cultural traditions.

What type of information do I need to complete a Form 3-177 for my eagle items?

An FWS or U.S. Customs officer will be available to help you complete your declaration form. To fill out this form, you must provide the following information:

Date of "import/export," i.e., the date you enter or leave the United States (block 1).
The name of the U.S. port of entry where you are declaring your eagle items (block 4).
Your name, address, and phone number (block 13).
Species, type, country of origin, and number of eagle items (blocks 16a, 18a, 19a, 20). For example, if you are bringing in three golden eagle feathers from Canada, you would write “golden eagle” in block 16a, “feathers” in block 18a, “3” in block 19a, and “CA” in block 20.
You must also sign and date the form in Block 21. U.S. officers may ask you for additional information, such as the license plate number of your vehicle or your airline flight number.

Must I take all of my eagle items back to Canada with me?

Yes. The items listed on the declaration you file when you enter the United States should match the items you declare when you return to Canada.

May I transport eagle items that belong to another person?

No. You must own the eagle items that you bring into the United States.

May I bring live eagles into the United States?

No. You may not bring live bald or golden eagles or live eagle eggs into or out of the United States. You may transport lawfully possessed dead bald and golden eagles; eagle mounts, parts, feathers, and nests; dead eagle eggs; and items made from or containing these materials.

May I sell or buy eagle items in the United States?

No. U.S. laws prohibit the sale or purchase of bald and golden eagles, their parts and feathers, nests, eggs, and products made from them.

Why is the United States introducing requirements for Indian people of Canada who visit with eagle items?

Under the U.S. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, no one may legally enter or leave the United States with items made from bald or golden eagles. For years, this prohibition applied even to U.S. Native Americans who wanted to travel outside of the United States with personally owned eagle items for religious or cultural use.

FWS regulations and enforcement policies, which were implemented a few years ago, provide a legal mechanism authorizing enrolled members of U.S. federally recognized tribes to travel internationally with eagle items. Those rules, however, did not apply to Indian people from Canada. Many of these individuals routinely travel to the United States to participate in religious and cultural ceremonies involving the use of eagle items. The new policy that went into effect on February 1, 2003, makes it possible for Indian people of Canada to legally visit the United States with personally owned eagle items for religious and cultural use.

How did the Fish and Wildlife Service develop this new policy?

We worked with officials from the Canadian Wildlife Service and other authorities from Canada to find a way to accommodate Indian people in Canada who want to travel to the United States with eagle items.

How does this new policy affect U.S. Native Americans?

It does not apply to U.S. tribal members. FWS policies that already allow members of U.S. federally recognized tribes to travel in North America with eagle items remain in effect. U.S. tribal members should contact the FWS or check the guidelines on our web site to obtain detailed information about traveling overseas or to Canada and Mexico with eagle items.

How are eagles protected in the United States?

The United States generally prohibits the take, sale, purchase, possession, import, or export of bald and golden eagles and their parts, feathers, eggs, and nests. Special rules, however, accommodate traditional Native American religious and cultural practices that require the possession and transport of eagles or eagle parts and feathers.

Who may I contact if I have additional questions about bringing eagle items into the United States from Canada?

You may call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement at (703) 358-1949 or e-mail us at [email protected]. You may also check with any of our wildlife inspection offices. Questions may also be addressed to Patricia M. Dwyer, Chief, Aboriginal Affairs and Transboundary Wildlife, Canadian Wildlife Service, at (819) 953-0289, e-mail [email protected].
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Old 08-11-2004, 06:33 PM   #2
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Cool, thx the info! :Thumbs
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Old 08-12-2004, 04:41 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for the valuable information, Whome!
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Old 08-13-2004, 07:13 AM   #4
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The down side to this is that Bands that are not status card bands (like land claim bands...i.e., Inuits many Northern Athabascan bands and many NDN bands in BC) are not covered by this and may not bring their feathers across into the US without possibly having them confiscated by US Customs. Even though these bands are recognized by Canada as aboriginal they are not issued a card by the Canadian governmant so they do not qualify to be treated the same by the US.

Sad but true!

Here is a link to the Fish and wildlife web site regarding this issue.

http://www.le.fws.gov/travelwitheagleitems.htm
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Old 08-13-2004, 11:32 AM   #5
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On a poitive note, my family and friends have been border hopping for years and customs has not asked anyone that I know for their paperwork yet. The going beleif in our community is that if you are honoring your life and those feathers that there will be no problem at the border. If someone gets nervous about customs (there have been some horror stories about what happens even with documentation and paperwork) they usually put down some tobacco and just go for the border. Still, it's good to know your laws and regs.

All that said, sosmetimes I still get butterflies when I'm pulling up to that gate :D
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Old 08-13-2004, 02:57 PM   #6
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Boozhoo Sookout!

All nervy eh? Our border is a goot border :D. (the Canuck side), but going into the US is a bugger.



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Old 08-13-2004, 03:05 PM   #7
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Talking

I usually get through the borders easily enough, but this last time the border patrol officer asked me what kind of job I had. I was thinking "what's that got to do with anything" :Thinking but I answered him anyway and he let me on my way. :driving:
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Old 08-13-2004, 04:00 PM   #8
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all that juss to bring feathers across the border!!

Well usually when i travel back and forth we just make sure that there no obvious fans or feathers showing in the vehicle, n dont say anything.

Once we got stopped, i guess they thought stopping a van load if ndns, would produce some amount of alcohol or infractions against the law, but after a while they found that we were clean. We asked them what they thought about transporting eagle feathers across the border and they said it was fine, they had no problem with it at all.

I flew from canada to the states, at the time i didnt have a bustle, container so it was in a clear plastic bag and it was my carry on. The customs there didnt say anything in fact they just made me show it to them cause they wanted to see it. So i complied, and went on my way with no problems at all.

But i guess worst case scenario you could get some redneck or a jerk, and he could confescate them on you but i think that the governments are more culturally sensitive in this day in age, trying to maintain a good PR.

Matthew
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Old 11-07-2004, 02:03 AM   #9
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Man, i love hearing these stories! The ones where they dident ask about the papers. I don't have papers, and i don't intend to get any, which i could. Like this one indian elder always says,, "I dont need papers from teh BIA to tell me im ndn! I know who i am." HE could get papers as well, but he decides to not get it, hes a full blood onandaga!

Any more stories would be appreciated! Oh yeah what about coming back from candad to the US?
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Old 12-06-2005, 12:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ojibwaysweetie
Boozhoo Sookout!

All nervy eh? Our border is a goot border :D. (the Canuck side), but going into the US is a bugger.



*L*
FYI - The latest word at da Soo is that they are looking primarily for feather traffickers. As long as your feather-bearing items look put together well and are "wrapped in a way that shows reverence" they will most likely (99 times out of a hundred the guy said) let you pass only asking if the items are ceremonial ( if your wondering about bustles and such the answer is always "ceremonial, yes sirr/ma'am!")

This was back in August 2005 - they also especially target couples where one person is American and the other is Canadian. Expect to be searched - we were asked politely to take our items out and present them for inspection... no diggin around by customs(a great perk of keeping things in a briefcase with locks is they have to ask you to open it). Metis people are also on the profiling list - make sure you're not bringing garbage bags full of feathers across the boarder (like the guy in front of us did).

Canada is pretty good huh, but they really like to look long and hard at anything that is made from the bear's body.

i'iw o'o mii awe.
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Old 12-11-2005, 02:21 PM   #11
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My opinion

I would just like to state my opinion on this subject. I find it frustrating for all N8Vs to be treated like eagle feathers or any other ceremonial objects are "harmful". I guess as N8Vs we need to just accept their ignorance and deal with it, which we have been for hundreds of years, but it just angers me sometimes when we have to prove our culture with a piece of paper or I.D. card. Our N8V brothers and sisters in Canada seem to have a the worst of the frustrations to even travel to a pow-wow or cultural ceremonies in the states. There are so many things that I can blow up on in this reply, but I jut wanted to state my opinion. I think that our N8V ways put non-N8V people in an uneasy position. I know not all non-N8Vs feel that way, but most of them do. I just want to say that I am proud to be N8V and I will stand up for my beliefs, regardless. I was always taught that the eagle feathers that are given to me are mine to keep and for no one else to handle. I find it disrespectful for anyone besides me or a close family member to handle me eagle feathers. When I had my first eagle plume put on my head my grandfather, a combat veteran, told me to take care of it, and not to disrespect it. That was when I was 13, now I'm 29 and I still have it.

Last edited by scorpiostwin11_76; 12-11-2005 at 02:23 PM.. Reason: deleted a letter
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