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  • Carrying feathers legally

    I've heard mentioned on here before about people having a paper from the government saying they have the right to carry eagle feathers. And if you don't have it then you are not legal. I was told that if you have your tribal enrollment card proving your indian then that's all you need. Who's right? What proof do you carry with you?
    I also remember people stating they have actually been stopped at powwows and checked for feathers. Is this a common practice at Eastern powwows?

  • #2 know that is very hard to really know...I was told that i needed to get my permit for feathers and get them from the place that does the permits..but then I asked about getting a permit for the handed down feathers and they said..all you need is an enrollment card or letter proving who you now I am confused as well there.
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


    • #3
      So, I'm taking it that no one knows the answer to this question? How about crossing the border with them? Any problems there?


      • #4
        Ok, I'm absolutely non-knowledgeable on this topic, but can remember to have read that just being native (prooved) or non-native is enough for being eligible or not.


        • #5
          Technically, you are supposed to have a permit to have eagle feathers. If you request eagle feathers from a repository (where some people get them), you apply as part of the process and will get the permit for them. However, the government also recognizes that feathers come to Indians mostly through other ways (i.e. handed down, etc.) so a permit isn't always required - enrollment is good enough. I think the hassle you get depends on how well law enforcement knows the regulations and respects sovereignty. Up here, nobody I know bothers with a permit and law enforcement doesn't even worry about it. I think it's more of a problem in areas with wannabes that may not be Indian but somehow have eagle feathers...(I'm surmising here). And crossing the border is a whole nother issue I'm not familiar with but have heard lots about.

          I'm not sure if there's actually been a legal challenge of requiring Indians to have a permit to have feathers (anyone know for sure?) but I think most lawyers would laugh before taking a loser case like that so maybe that's why most Indians don't get hassled about it..? Again, I'm guessing. Clear as mud?
          Not better. Not worse. Just different.


          • #6
            Yeah you have to have a permit to carry them to Canada and it is only good for 180 days. that much I do know...and I hear they have been cracking down on it since that one guys got caught with all those poached eagles.
            Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


            • #7
              How about going through the airports??? I was wondering if anyone has had any trouble since last fall when the airports actually started doing their jobs? I would like to know because I may be flying in the near future and don't want to be hassled about my feathers which were given to me in Canada. Let me know the scoop, ok??
              El Oso


              • #8
                A friend of mine used to carry his feathers in a carry-on when he flew on trips. Since 9/11 he's been a little wary of doing that with all of the increased security. He hasn't flown since then, but he has mentioned that he might consider mailing his feathers to a friend in the area to which he is traveling if he's flying to a powwow. He just doesn't want to deal with any potential hassels at airports.



                • #9
                  Due to some extensive research and experience I can shed some light on this subject.

                  Recently some friends of mine had some problems with the feather issue and had to go through the courts to settle the issue.

                  Through all of this the lawyers (all well versed in Native Law and Enviromental Law) found out some fasinating things such as:

                  1. Being "federal" and just "enrolled" is not a guarantee. There can be many different circumstances based on the type of feathers and animal parts. Although the laws have been written for some time, the list of fauna and animals on the lists changes constantly. And there are many lists - Endagered, Endagered and Protected, Protected, etc. And the Federal lists greatly vary from the individual states.

                  2. Do not rely on just the "federal law." Remember that Federal Law and State Law are very different and do not always work on the same plane. A state may have a different twist added to the federal law which is perfectly legal according to the rights of the states. In fact many states have added clauses to the protection of fauna and animals.

                  4. Laws vary from state to state on the protection of fauna and animals. What is legal in one state may not be in another.

                  5. Even certain cases like handed down feathers and possession of feathers before certain protection acts were passed need some kind of verification. Example: My friend had eagle feathers from the 30'and 40's (long before the protection act was passed) but he still needed to show verification of how old the feathers were regardless of being federally recognized, etc.

                  6. Finally, never forget that Federal Fish and Wildlife people and State Divisions of Wildlife people do not work together. Many have hidden agendas when it comes to Native Americans. They have great power and can charge you even if you are "federal."
                  This way they make you prove your right by tying you up in the courts.

                  7. Technically one should have the permits. They come in handy if you ever come across some "gung ho" fish and wildlife officer or worse yet some state officer that has a problem with Native Americans.

                  Do some research and keep up with the changing lists of endagered and protected fauna and animals on both the federal and state levels.
                  Last edited by Tom Iron Eagle; 03-05-2002, 10:44 PM.


                  • #10
                    a thought

                    i had a friend and she had gotton a eagle through some program with the wildlife or something like that. it is such a beautiful bird but with it she had to sign papers saying that she couldn't sell it for monetaries but that it had to be passed down to her children. she still has the bird to this day. doesn't know what she really has now does she?
                    Grant me the senility to forget the people i never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones i do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.


                    • #11

                      belive me you have to have a federal permit, this will cover only eagle, then you have to have a state permit to cover hawk,owl, our any other bird of prey, the fed permit covers all your handed down eagle feathers,, i know alot of game wardens, your tribal card only covers you on a rez,,we get some of our eagle plumes, from dollywood, in pigeon forge tnn, through the mail with our permit, a copy only, do not send the real one,they will send your copy back, call first,,, good luck with your feathers......
                      sigpicMITAKUYE OYASIN... "then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all , and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world . and while i stood there I saw more than I can tell . and I Under Stood more then I saw . for I Was Seeing in a Sacred manner the Shapes of All . Hehaka Sapa. dec 1863-aug 17 or 19 , 1950.. listen online TO KILI 90.1 FM porcupine butte


                      • #12
                        This is a great thread.

                        I know a lot of eagle feathers are handed down from generation to generation, but I always thought any American Indian could have eagle feathers. I thought you could just go to a nest, collect all the loose feathers in the nest and go on your way.

                        Now I know I was wrong. Again, someone in my non-native world has taught me wrong, But now I have people in the Native world to help set me straight. :) This is a good thing.
                        If the horse is dead, dismount.


                        • #13
                          It's all on the Federal Wildlife Websites somewhere. Search it.
                          ...jus put on Mandareeeee....


                          • #14
                            I've gotten a few eagle feathers from the US Federal Eagle Respository in Colorado, and they do indeed send you a permit. But their permits are ONLY for the feathers they send you, they are very specific pieces of paper. For instance, if the repository sends you 1 golden eagle adult tail feather, and say, 3 bald eagle adult wing feathers, that's exactly what is printed on the permit as legal for you to possess. It isn't a blanket permit that covers any and all eagle feathers you might have, or that just says "This person has a right to possess and transport eagle feathers."

                            The permit also details that you CAN give away or pass along those feathers, but that you must keep in your records all details of the person to whom you gave them. The permit also says that you need to keep the printed copy on your person, and must present to any wildlife official who challenges your right to possess the feathers. I've always assumed this permit protects you at both the State and Federal level of enforcement.

                            There have been instances of Ndns in Minnesota and Wisconsin who have been threatened by police for having eagle feathers in their car, but never so far as I know at things like powwows or such. The challenges have come at places where confrontations are occuring and things are charged, like treaty fishing right gatherings, casino protests, and things of that nature. Sadly, the kind of place we might expect to get that kind of harrassment.

                            I don't believe the permit allows you to carry the feathers internationally, don't people technically need a CITES permit to do that?

                            I don't know anything about permits available in any way for other bird of prey or protected species parts. I suppose there must be something equivalent.

                            It is legal for SOME individuals other than Native Americans to possess raptor (hawk/owl/eagle) feathers, beyond the university or museum people. And that is those possessing falconry certification. But they can legally possess the parts only of birds they are certified to handle and train, that usually being Coopers Hawks, Red-tails, and other common hawks or falcons. However,
                            master falconers are allowed to keep and train eagles. Feathers
                            are usually kept because discarded ones can be spliced to
                            damaged feathers to make repairs on birds that can keep them flying, or for coop or nest purposes. But falconers are licensed,
                            tested, and certified by state and federal regulations, it's not just somebody who decided they wanted to keep a bird and went out and caught one.

                            I've travelled in the US with eagle feathers, via plane, and never once had any problem with officials about the feathers. I always
                            carry them on, and they are plainly visible to inspectors. Never had any trouble at all. Don't know if that's good, or bad. To some extent, I'd like to know that policies on the transport of endangered or protected species ARE being enforced, even if that makes it inconvenient for me sometimes.

                            That would be a tradeoff I'd be content with.

                            Federal policies about eagle part possession, collection, and such are as stated in the post earlier, available from the US Fish and Wildlife service. Do a search for their posted policies, or contact
                            your local mangament district. They'd be happy to send you all the details.



                            • #15
                              Like I said above...........I recently asked fish and game about passed down feathers because I do have quite a few of these and the man told me that as long as I am carrying a paper that says that my people recognize me and that I am on thier rolls...he said that would be enough..they don't make permits for pass downs.
                              As for the airports, my husband and his friend went to OK for the eloshka (sorry spelling) and his friend took his fan as a carry on...the folks in security did the x-ray on the box and the man at the airport seeing what it was in the x-ray said to his assistant...NOW DON"T OPEN THAT OR TOUCH IT...just let him handle it. I am pretty sure he knew what it was and was respectful, but I would be sure to have your roll card, tribal letter or permit (whichever you have and all three if you got em) with you and easily accessable, just to be on the safe side.
                              Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


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