The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the unusual decision this week to allow for a bald eagle permit that will give an American Indian tribe permission to kill two bald eagles.
The request was made by the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming when in 2011 they contended in federal court that refusal to allow for the killings violates tribal members’ religious freedom.
Thousands of American Indians apply for eagle feathers and carcasses from a federal repository each year however permission to actually kill the Eagles is extremely rare.
Speaking for the tribe Native American Rights Fund lawyer Steve Moore told Reuters:
“I’ve not heard of a take permit for a bald eagle. I see it and NARF would see it as a legitimate expression of sovereignty by the tribe, and respect for that sovereignty by the Fish and Wildlife Service.”
Under federal law bald eagles can not be killed in almost all cases which is why government officials keep a federal repository of dead bird carcasses and feathers which can be requested for religious ceremonies.
While the bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened species in 2007 it remains protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
In a court filing on Tuesday Federal lawyers said the Eastern Shoshone Tribe was opposed to the killing of eagles on the Wind River Indian Reservation which they share with the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
Do you believe the Northern Arapaho Tribe should be allowed to kill two bald eagles on their own nationally protected land?
[Image via ShutterStock.com]