Opinion on Eagle Act, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and Indians
Here, in pdf. Altho it construes a statute, it applies a number of constitutional standards. When I was at Interior, I worked with some of these issues. The Eagle Protection Act generally outlaws intentionally killing eagles or using their parts. Certain Indian tribes consider them essential to various religious services. To try to deal with that, Interior puts dead eagles (road kill, mostly) into a repository and rations out feathers, etc.
Problem here was that this tribe maintained that the eagle being offered to the Almighty must be pure, i.e., not road kill. In fact, the stricter adherents maintained the eagle must be captured live by a person. Having seen their claws and beaks, I think I'd contract that job out.
I've read two ways eagles can be caught live.
One is to watch them fish and catch them soaking wet and unable to fly when they swim to shore clutching a fish to heavy to fly off with and too precious to abandon.
The other is to bait them and catch them from an ambush hidey hole.
Thank you Louis L"Amour
Posted by: tom gunn at May 11, 2008 04:15 PM
This is the right decision. If you don't like the statute as it is, the correct approach is to lobby the Congress to get the law changed. Indian tribes have lots of political stroke; of course, enviros do, too. Hence, the compromise that is presently in place.
Posted by: Letalis Maximus, Esq. at May 11, 2008 07:31 PM
I say we arm the Eagles with tiny stinger missiles and make this a fair fight!
Posted by: Tom at May 12, 2008 07:52 AM
There's your typical government bureaucrats in action. Why not issue eagle licenses for half of what they request, the actual number they probably had in mind. By submitting to a permit process they have effectively thrown away another element of sovereignty.
Maybe they could offer the government agents the chance to participate in some other ancient traditional Indian traditions like dying a slow agonizing death for trespassing on their tribal land.
Posted by: The Mechanic at May 13, 2008 01:17 PM
Time to sit around the camp and pass the piece pipe, or maybe a Peyote Button party is in order.
Posted by: Tom at May 14, 2008 05:18 AM