July 17, 2009

Eagle rite = "satanic sacrifice"?

Eagle controversy yields education as well as some indignation

By Carol BerryA bald eagle’s body, found by a hiker in May near Boulder, wrapped in red cloth, was missing head, talons and tail feathers, and was believed to have fallen from a tree. After the discovery, a series of misunderstandings and misinformation ensued, fueled in part by media speculation.

The hiker reported his finding to the county sheriff’s office, which was baffled at the red wrapping. Wildlife officials suspected poaching, an autopsy was scheduled, rewards for information about the beheading were issued and, according to at least one press account, the discovery may have pointed to a “satanic sacrifice.”

“It behooves you to go out and find the right answers,” Birgil Kills Straight, of Kyle, S.D, co-founder of the Indigenous Law Institute, told those who attended a press conference July 13 at the Native American Rights Fund.
And:After the issue arose, some members of the area’s Native community became upset over what was perceived as a media slight, however unintentional, both to the community and to established spiritual practice. One young man, Steve LaPointe, Rosebud Lakota, contacted NARF and others about the principles involved.

It eventually was revealed that Darrell Pino, Diné, Colorado Springs, had obtained the eagle lawfully from the National Eagle Repository near Denver, a Fish and Wildlife Service-maintained collection point for dead eagles that distributes them for traditional purposes.

Pino had held a Sweatlodge ceremony conducted by Lee Plenty Wolf, Oglala Lakota, giving thanks for the eagle and acknowledging its importance. Then, as a veteran, he was authorized to take the parts he needed for traditional purposes, after which a second Sweatlodge ceremony was held. Pino said that, as Lakota tradition dictates, he ultimately wrapped the eagle’s body in red (honoring) cloth, prayed over and smudged the eagle, and placed it in a tree.
Comment:  Previous reports have said the eagle body was missing its head, not just its head feathers. The decapitation probably contributed to the perception that the rite was a "satanic sacrifice."

It's still not clear what placing the eagle's body in a tree signifies. A quick Google search offered no help.

Oh, well. For more on the subject, see Dismembered Eagles in Native Religion.

Below:  "The bald eagle, an integral part of tribal and cultural tradition, was the subject of misinformation and controversy after an eagle’s body, wrapped in ceremonial red cloth, and with talons, head and tail feathers removed, was found beside a hiking trail." (Photo by Carol Berry)

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Also I have to wonder what they mean by 'satanic' Laveyan satanism (accurately described by Akercocke's lead singer as 'atheism with a sense of humor) and theistic satanism (the literal belief in satan) are not the same belief system. So not only is that bigot guilty of slandering Native spirituality he also doesn't have a goram clue about satanism actually is apart from what he's read in chick tracts.