February 16, 2007

Indians need permit for religion

Stokes:  Time for new eagle feather lawThink your religious freedom is protected? Think again. As many people across Indian country are aware, American Indians are the only ethnic group in the United States that require a federal permit for religious freedom. The law upholding this is commonly referred to as the “eagle feather law,” referring to Title 50, Part 22 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR 22), and it governs the possession and use of eagle feathers.

Many people don't know how problematic the eagle feather law really is. To possess eagle feathers, citizens must be able to legally prove their ethnicity and only individuals of certifiable American Indian ancestry enrolled in a federally recognized tribe are authorized to obtain permits. Those caught without permits face imprisonment and fines up to $25,000--for practicing their religion.

But there's a problem. Falsification of state records in what has been termed “paper genocide” has artificially decreased the true number of indigenous people in the United States and terminated the “official” existence of many tribes. Consequently, many Native Americans cannot be found on the Dawes Rolls (the major determinant of tribal enrollment and application for an eagle permit) and many tribes are unable to win federal recognition. As a result, many people lose access to eagles and the ability to practice and preserve traditional customs otherwise protected for “recognized” tribes and their members.


Anonymous said...

Something is not ringing true here. It sounds like a white guy throwing a hissy fit because he is excluded from a Native American custom and rightfully so.
He states a "few" cases where some Indian's eagle feathers were confiscated, but come on, we're not talking about hundreds of Indians being effected by this law, only him.
And the worst part of his whiny rant is where he tries to throw all Indians into the mix to bolster his argument.
If it walks like a Newager and it quacks like a Newager, well you know the rest.


voyageur said...

anonymouse: Newage rhymes with sewage.

writerfella: Great comment. By the way, I have a posting on my blog concerning warm showers. It's a subject often raised here.