Monday, October 4, 2010

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 10/04/2010

Wednesday, October 1st was a historic day not only for Liberty Wildlife but also for the Native American community. It marked the opening day of our Liberty Wildlife Non-Eagle Feather Repository and the first day that Native Americans could legally request non-eagle feathers in 21 years. The first batch of requests for feathers has been mailed out, and we are manning the phones to answer questions from Native Americans who are seeking feathers.

Here’s the deal. Native Americans have been unable to legally obtain feathers since 1999 when the Eagle Repository ceased to supply anything other than eagle feathers, parts, and carcasses because of budget and staff cuts. Since the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the early 1900’s all parts of migratory birds including feathers, nests, eggs, etc. have been protected from possession, selling and trading. Feathers, parts, and carcasses could be passed down through generations but some feathers are used up during ceremonies necessitating continual quests for new feathers.

While this new service offered by Liberty Wildlife will demand the attention of staff and volunteers, it is clearly the right thing to do. We have a steady supply of raptor and non-raptor feathers and will hopefully be getting donations from other permitted agencies that until now were by law required to be destroyed. Also, providing a legal means for federally recognized tribal members to obtain feathers negates any illegal taking of raptors and non-raptors to satisfy the need. It erases any need for black marketing in illegal feathers, parts, and carcasses. We will no longer tempt people towards illegal activities in order to fully practice cultural and religious beliefs. It looks like a win-win situation for all concerned parties….except perhaps for the black marketers….hmmmmmmmmmmm!

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