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  • Eagle poaching fine slammed as `farce'

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    Eagle poaching fine slammed as `farce'

    B.C. seller of aboriginal crafts guilty of trafficking birds, ordered to pay
    Apr 03, 2007 04:30 AM
    Petti Fong
    Western Canada Bureau Chief
    VANCOUVER–The first man convicted in a large-scale eagle poaching
    investigation in B.C. has been sentenced to pay a fine of $1,450 for his part in the
    trafficking of 50 bald eagles.
    The discovery of the dead birds in North Vancouver two years ago sparked a
    15-month investigation that led to 105 charges against 12 B.C. men.
    The birds were found shot to death and their feathers and talons sold to
    Canadian and American buyers.
    Last week, Chilliwack resident Reynold Collins, who was involved in selling
    traditional aboriginal arts and crafts, pleaded guilty to two counts related
    to eagle trafficking.
    He was fined $1,450 in penalties.
    Under provincial and federal legislation, possible penalties range from a
    $50,000 fine and one year in jail for poaching to a $150,000 fine and five years
    in jail for illegal exporting.
    Collins' fine does little to deter future poachers, said Bev Day, founding
    director of the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.
    "It's a farce," said Day.
    "If you want to stop these activities, you make the penalty more serious than
    a slap on the wrist."
    Paul Adams, executive director of the B.C. Wildlife Federation, which
    represents hunters and anglers, said that the significant penalty is important and
    highlights the need for better oversight.
    "Considering the situation regarding First Nations and their ability to
    utilize eagles for ceremonial purposes, this recognizes that this is
    inappropriate and needs to be regulated and handled in a more transparent fashion," said
    The men arrested were part of three B.C. bands, said Grand Chief Doug Kelly
    of the Sto:lo Tribal Council.
    First Nation culture allows the use of feathers and parts of animals and
    birds in the development and making of sacred regalia used in ceremonies, said
    Kelly, but an important part of that tradition is only using what is necessary.

    He said the other men who are still appearing before the courts will make the
    argument that the eagles were being used for ceremonial purposes.
    "There is a concern about due process and concerns among some of our
    community members that the investigation was politically motivated to get a prompt
    result because of outcry and there was various forms of entrapment used," he
    Kelly said the investigation involved a conservation officer posing as a
    buyer who was relentless in calling up artisans and other people and pressing
    them to find eagle parts for him.
    "Initially these folks said no, but after this officer continued to press
    them, they ended up being charged," Kelly said yesterday.
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

  • #2
    I agree that punishments need to be harsher!
    It should be a three strikes thing... and that guy had several charges!!! I say several life sentences!!! You can bet all other poachers will think twice.

    I remember here in Kansas there were two whooping cranes shot by a group of 7 hunters a couple years back. The birds were unique in that they were two of only 213 whooping cranes left in the wild. The hunters eventually got their fine talked down to 3,000 split between the 7 of them and their jail time was replaced by 50 hours community service. Their argument was that they mistook the birds for sandhill cranes which look somewhat similar. Yet, one of the birds had eleven shots in it.... clearly, sometime between shot 1 and shot 11 the hunter should have realized. This bird in fact survived for a few days... had the hunter stopped shooting sooner, it could have lived. Also, mistaking one bird for another to me seems the same as shooting a baby perhaps mistaking it for a piglet. You can bet to heck if you shot a person by "accident" 11 times, you wouldn't be doing just community service.

    Intentional shooting for the point of sale is sacrilege!!! And persons who purchased these feathers!! They should know better... where is their jail sentence or fines?! Clearly if the poachers couldn't get buyers then they wouldn't be poaching. *sigh*
    ~*The only thing we know for sure is that we believe.*~


    • #3
      What a disgrace. What stupid Indians. What the heck are they thinking? Thats stupid. Just watch the feds attack all Indians now for their mistakes. I feel ashamed right now.

      Ya know? This is a dark secret on the Pow Wow trail. I know of many people who purchase/trade for eagle parts. Are they really using them for traditional purposes? Or are they simply purchasing eagle parts just so they can "look coo" out there dancing??

      This is stupid.


      • #4
        I surrender

        My name is Gary Abbott. I am one of the accused. I am accused of posession without a permit and bartering for feathers with meat and money. I have read the BC Wildlife Act. It is true I am guilty by their laws. Without a permit, anyone who has a feather is just as guilty as I am. I am in no way connected to the slaughtered birds in North Vancouver, and as far as I know neither are any of the others. My feathers are for persnal use, not for sale or profit.

        Today, is the second day of our pow wow. Last year is where everything started. Who knew we would be criminals for posessing eagle feathers. I don't even want to be at our pow wow. I am supposed to be there right now being the headman dance judge. I have lost my spirit. I haven't really danced since Chilliwack last year. Pow wows is where I was so happy. Being around people, talking to some, but just enjoying ourselves. I know it is probably very hard for my boys to understand what is going on. Why we don't go to pow wows anymore. I have spent the last year researching and studying and learning for my battles. Calling every single First Nations law firm and each of them saying they can't help me. One of their clients may not like it and take their business elsewhere. I have spoken to many leaders, I let them know what the BC Wildlife Act contains. That any of us with out their permit is a criminal. Everyone agrees it is wrong, there was no consultation with the nations. We have always done these things. Letting people know, we have nothing to do with the slaughtered eagles found in North Vancouver. The government is waging a war against us. I am a student of history, war and politics, and I must say this is a perfectly executed plan against us. They use the media to portray us as eagle hunters for profit. To turn our people against us and not support us. Meanwhile, they are setting a precedent with us. The crown prosecutor has said, he wants to make an example of us. That it is illegal to buy, sell, trade or posess any eagle feather or part without their permit.

        When I was at the pow wow today, I just really didn't want to be there. I felt so alone amongst our own people. If I were allowed to wage this war it would be well underway. I was told to do nothing as it would be self serving. I had spoken to some of our leaders this weekend, let them know my story and asked them to spread the news. No one will stand up for us, no one will even question us and say, ok, I will help you. I will lead the war for you, for our people, for our children. Thats what its really about. I see, that if I don't fight now, my children lose, what is rightfully theirs.

        I was speaking to someone today, and they told me it is only a matter of time before we lose everything that is ours. I pointed to my boys sitting with me, I do it for them I said. It doesn't matter he said. That hit me hard. Usually I am unwavering in my beliefs, once in a while something makes me stop dead in my tracks.

        I decided today that I am going to plead guilty to posession of eagle feathers. I am guilty by their laws. I guess they can be happy, I am another that they had broken.

        I know many of you will say don't give up, I am here for you. You know, you may be there, but we still lose the war. I need warriors to fight this, I find none. It is really hard to do this. I think, I plan, I strategize, I could lead this war so well. I think I will just represent myself as well. What does it matter anyways. They want 3 years of my life and 600,000.00 they can have it.

        So those of you that think we should get the maximum, be happy. If you are a praciting First Nations person, you are just as guilty as I am. Think about that. Personally, I think most of these people don't have all the facts. I have always been available for anyone to ask me questions. I try and live a good life the way my father and my uncles had taught me. Pow wows are just small part of our culture. Every feather at a sweat, a long house, a potlatch, a sundance anywhere, without a permit, you are a criminal, just as I am.

        Or is this to be selective prosecution? There are still too many questions. I am not a lawyer, my mind is more geared towards war.

        Gary Abbott
        Chilliwack, BC
        Last edited by DanceswithLightning; 04-09-2007, 02:16 PM.

        I am the lightning that you see in the sky. Beautiful to look at, impossible to touch. If I touch you, you will never be the same.


        • #5
          I agree with the respectful collection of feathers, and how that fits into our aboriginal inherent rights.

          I believe in our right to carry eagle feathers and parts for ceremonial purposes. But, only if they have been collected respectfully, and harvested according to our common Native belief system of respecting the eagle.

          I do not agree with the killing of eagles so that their feathers and other body parts can be used for ceremonial purposes. That goes against our respectful belief system.

          I do not agree with vendors who sell or trade eagle parts that have been shot and killed disrespectfully. That goes against our traditional belief system.

          If the feathers and other eagle parts in this particular court case were knowingly sold/or traded for profit, and the people in question are mis-using our traditional rights to further their financial gain then I believe that they need to accept the consequences that they receive from the Native community and legal realm.

          It would go against our respectful, traditional beliefs to support their court challenge merely on the principle of the matter if the feathers and other eagle body parts were harvested and knowingly traded/or sold with the people in question having knowledge that eagles were being killed so that a few people could make a profit.

          Your response is the first I've heard from any of the accused stating that their charges don't relate to the eagle massacre in North Vancouver, Gary.

          I think it would help if the other people who were charged in this particular case truthfully assured us that they have no connection to the eagles that were murdered in the North Van area.

          It would help the people in question to gain support from the Native community for their court challenge if the people in question truthfully re-assured us that the feathers that they were charged with selling/or trading were collected in a respectful way.

          As Native people, we have a right to fight for our rights. But, we also have to stick to our principles of respect and honour for the eagle.


          • #6
            Well put, i echo Red Cedar's comments exactly.
            was it a slap on the hands or a pat on the back?
            Elaine Roy


            • #7
              Dear Gary;
              I appreciate your courage in coming forward and speaking publicly about this issue!!
              I have tried to find information about this situation and have come up with very few; with the exception of the media who has painted you all with a black tar in the public's eye.

              I had previously read your brief posting on another site-how this has affected your family and you were closing your family business, etc- and how you stated you were not guilty of the terrible slaughter of the Eagles... I want you to know that it made me want to know more and find out what is the truth.

              I was startled to find that media did not include any statements from the accused- there was nothing there to back you guys up....nothing to tell your side of the story and that really bothered me because it made it seem more like a witch hunt.. than a search for truth!

              So I am very happy to find a place in which you could have your say!!!

              I must respectfully remind everyone- that we all cannot blindly trust the media or the government to speak the truth to us- we must not jump to condemn people or ostracise them without knowing all the facts.... have we not learned after all the Canadian government has done to the native people that sometimes what is said and what is true is not the same thing... so listen to what Gary has to say!

              Gary keep up the fight! and really encourage others to speak up here and elsewhere because this is a really scary issue if more of this happens. The guys who did this senseless, horrible crime should pay- but let us make sure the criminals pay- not the public!

              I was at the Chilliwack Powwow too- sorry to hear you felt alone- had I known- I would of sought you out and gave you a hug.....though you may of been freaked out by a stranger doing that.... but I believe you when you say you are not guilty of the slaughter!

              My question to you- do all 300 powwow dancers that may have been wearing Eagle feathers - have papers from the government for their Eagle feathers and if not- what you are saying is that there may be a possibility that any of these 300 dancers at the powwow could be charged in the future.. if the government so decided?

              Found this link of an American that is going through a case with Eagle feathers- that may interest you!

              anyways take care everyone


              • #8
                From what I understand regarding the North Vancouver eagle slaughter, it was Native people who brought the information forward in the first place and the media reported the story later with the same facts.

                The story was first reported in a Native newspaper about who may have been charged with the North Van eagle slaughter, and the story hit the mainstream media outlets later.

                We have to be careful about separating the issue of fighting for our right to carry eagle feathers and blindly supporting people who may be guilty of trafficking the parts of slaughtered eagles who may be using "fighting for our rights" as a way to beat the charges.

                From what I understand, Gary is the only one who claims that he was not trafficking eagle parts from the North Van eagle slaughter.

                I know that a lot of traditional Native people from this part of the world are upset about the eagle slaughter in North Vancouver.

                It is not traditional to kill eagles for ceremonial purposes.

                If you are not guilty of being involved in trafficking eagle parts from the slaughtered eagles in North Vancouver, Gary, you should fight the charges. Ask them to take DNA from the slaughtered eagles to compare to the eagle parts that you had in your possession. I'm sure they kept their remains to use as evidence in the court case. This will prove whether your eagle parts came from the slaughtered North Van eagles or not.


                • #9
                  Gary, I have to ask, and I'm not being accusatory, but I'm curious to know... what were the 8 counts? Were they like 8 feathers, 8 whole birds, 8 parts of birds or what?
                  Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


                  • #10
                    If you try to defend cost MONEY. You have to pay for he volunteers)cort cost, paper work, any tests, etc. This can run into the thousands and hundreds of thousands and more. Many have tried for years to get these laws changed...but it comes down to COST$$$$$$. Do you and your families or anyone who wants to support you have the money??? And the last case went to the Supreme Cort...lost and it took years and more $$$$.

                    Even if and when any bird is taken off the endagered list..there is the Migratory Bird Act which still covers possession.

                    As one who ran a "fowl" of the law in their yearly years for just some 10 Blue Jay feathers posession.(long long story) pay the fine. It is less costly in money and emotions. The prison terms and fines are more than misdomenor first time drug possesion.
                    Last edited by Cheshire Cat; 04-09-2007, 10:40 AM. Reason: bad spelling and there is still more.


                    • #11
                      Just so everyone knows- Gary is not the only one to say that he did not have anything to do with the Eagle Slaughter- others have posted the same- Just not on this particular Forum.
                      Others have also posted support and belief in their innocence; again not just on this particular forum. It would be wonderful if they would come forward in defence of those they know to be innocent!

                      The media that I was talking about is the coverage on the charges brought against these men- I know about the coverage initially about the Eagle slaughter and I have no qualm about that...

                      It is in the media coverage of the charges against these men that have only one side of the story and to date I have not seen their side of their story told. We all know that there should be two sides to every story given so that we all can make an unbiased judgement... but when only hears one side to that story - how can anyone really be unbiased?

                      have a good day everyone
                      Last edited by LB1; 04-09-2007, 01:45 PM.


                      • #12

                        What happened, is there was one of our own people working as an undercover agent. Saying he was adopted and did not know our ways and wanted to learn. You need to read the BC Wildlife act. I can forward a copy to anyone that is interested. Anyone with a dead animal part or feather without a permit can be charged with posession, just as I was. The crown counsel has stated they want to make an example of us, to enforce their permit policy. Permits which only they hand out, on their basis. Again, I, or the 11 others are not related to the slaughter in North Vancouver. You can do the media research that is a whole other case. As for DNA evidence, I am very aware of what can be proven. So I have no worries there at all. BC wildlife does have dna samples of each of the birds recovered. None of my feathers came from there.

                        As for the hunting of eagles for our ceremonies, you are wrong. We did have people that hunted them. Only very select people and only when they were really needed. I must say this came as a suprise to me. I had spoken to many elders in my research and many of them had told of this. Now there are cultural differences all over North America, even here in our province of BC. Now to say that is not right, means you do not have an open mind. That is not our native way. I am not an anthropoligist or an arhceologist, they can tell you for sure. Again I will say, I did trade for feathers with meat and money and it was for personal use only. I am a Database Architect, thats how I make my money. I am quite certain that they are targeting me with such heavy fines and jail because I have a thriving business.

                        I am not sure how much more I should be saying as my court date is not for many months yet. So you see, the farce the media speaks of is meaningless. The judges hear all the evidence, the media, as said here does not. The medias job is to sell their product and they do that by creating interest, whether it is positive or negative. They do not report things from the goodness of their heart. We are native people, start thinking like one. Trust your spirit and ask, why would people say that, ask is it true. To blindly believe one side of the story is to show your immaturity and ignorance. Do you really think the courts would hand out such sentences if the evidence really showed differently?

                        We have been saying these things for a year, our words fall on deaf ears. My chief won't even call me back. Still our leaders do not stand up. As I said before, were I allowed to lead this war it would be well underway.

                        So I ask you, if you or anyone you know has a feather, do you have a permit? If not you or they are just as guilty. If you diagree with this permit issue, speak to your leaders, both political and spiritual.

                        I was always taught stand up and accept your mistakes, if they are true mistakes. Our people tell me I did nothing wrong, the non natives say I did. Who is right? I look to our history, we have always done these things, it is our way. That tells me the non natives are wrong.

                        Now I did have to ask myself, would I feel that way if I were not one of the accused? Yes, I would still feel the same way, this is not just my right, it is the right of my children. Even if you do not practice your culture, that does not mean your children will not. So, by not fighting for something you do not even do, means that you take it away from your children without them even getting to make a choice. We are a people of vision, we need to start living that way again.

                        I am sure I have said enough for today. I am sure there will be many that understand and many who don't. There will be those that do not agree and those who do. That is ok, there is always more than one way to do things and more than one way to look at things. Now, that is our way, we accept that.


                        Fear us, for we are the Wolves of the world.

                        I am the lightning that you see in the sky. Beautiful to look at, impossible to touch. If I touch you, you will never be the same.


                        • #13

                          Hey I am glad people can come in here and reply to things.

                          First off I think some people have to give their head a shake.Red Cedar who exactly are you????? I pow wow here in bc for over 20 yrs. I am one of the accused as well. I always stood my groud about this matter. I also stated I don't even hunt ..........hhmmmm seem's as though I keep repeating myself. Anyways I have gotten the BCAFN involved and they know the cases to a point. I also have told many of the other accused who I know especially Gary not to worry. The feathers he was charged for he obrained from the undercover. HHMMMM seems like lots don't know that??????? there is others as well who only bought from the undercovers then charged for it. All those who bought from the undercover also bought Goldan Black tip feathers. HMMMM is that not what most people look for??????

                          So for the people out there who would rather point fingers & be as bad as a none native keep pointing the finger. Keep reading the media. If it makes you feel more NDN keep doing it. I guess you are involved in the culture more then us accused.

                          I only hope some day we do not go back to the days were our culture was outlawed. Do you realize that to conservation could have easily walked in to the pow wow and asked every single person for the permits they should have for the feathers they carry??????

                          I was hounded and hounded for a bustle which I told them to supply me the feathers & I would do it......but no they just kept calling & asking until I gave in & said I would try.......I have 4 charges 2 for possesion & 2 for pretty there.......I guess if you want to think I was part of North Vancouvers big big eagle slaughter you feathers were actually from teh conservation that I was saving for a memorial I am having...........

                          Enough said I guess

                          Keep reading the an apple and point fingers....but remember to know the truths before you open your mouth.......


                          • #14
                            I know emotions are running high over this situation... I sincerely appreciate that the facts are being told by the accused.

                            No matter what happens- do not give up; because the Creator has chosen you all to carry on this fight for the future generations, but also on behalf of the powwow people!

                            My thoughts and prayers will be with you guys- for what it is worth!

                            The Media and the Government have been misleading the public- native and non-native alike;
                            I encourage everyone to always look for both sides to the story before passing judgement. Especially when it pertains to Native issues in particular.

                            That being said- I ask that everyone try to keep a cool head in this situation- and communicate- educate everyone about what are the facts; that is what a forum is all about!
                            Remember that old saying- no question is a dumb question?

                            By getting the truth out and having more people understand what really happened- the more support by Native people and non-native people- (that includes Apples); for this situation can be garnered for the fight ahead!

                            Let us know what we can do to help- is there any petitions circulating yet?

                            Take care and enjoy this beautiful day that we have been blessed with!


                            • #15
                              Found this petition from the States while surfing the web -



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