Monday, August 16, 2010

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 08/16/2010

On August 11th Jan Miller and Chaco, the red tailed hawk and Terry Stevens and Phoenix, the golden eagle went to the Native American Connections meeting with me to introduce our new non-eagle feather repository to local leaders in the Native American community. Co-sponsored by Native American Connections the meeting was designed to help us get the word out to not only southwestern tribes, but as a phone-in capacity was offered to tribes around the country, we had attendance from interested parties out of our direct area. A second goal of the meeting was to get feedback on the formation of an Advisory Council to serve on an ‘as needed basis’ to assist us with Native American concerns and issues that arise as we go through this unique process.

The two year pilot program that allows Liberty Wildlife and Sia, in Oklahoma, to provide feathers to legally identified tribal members was well received. Since 1999 Native people have not been able to obtain non-eagle feathers which are critical to many of their religious, ceremonial and cultural practices. Coming of age, healing, marriage, etc. ceremonies often require the use of feathers in the regalia or ceremonies and in order to obtain them, illegal take sometimes occurred. The concept of a non-eagle repository is a perfect opportunity for both Liberty Wildlife and for the Native American community. We have molted feathers, carcasses from rehab animals that don’t make it, and we have access to other rehabilitators, zoos, wildlife resource agencies across the country to help us fill requests. We are very pleased to be able to offer this service in a badly needed area. If we are able to assist another part of our community and help to save wildlife lives at the same time, we will have served a greater purpose.

And, as interested as the audience was in the workings of the repository, the real interest was in being able to be so close to Jan and Chaco and Terry and Phoenix. After the adults got to view these educational animals the students at the school were brought in to have a mini- educational experience. Cell phones snapped pictures, questions flew around the room, gasps were audibly heard! Suffice it to say, they were all thrilled.

Funny, no matter where we go, if the birds are with us we are always a big hit! Thanks to Jan and Terry and their wildlife ambassadors, for keeping the attention of the audience riveted on the front of the room!

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