Environment | Law | Opinion

DaShanne Stokes: State-recognized tribes need eagle feathers too






Members and representatives of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas attended the Apache Alliance Summit in Arizona in June. Photo from Facebook

DaShanne Stokes urges Indian Country to support the use of eagle feathers by members of state-recognized tribes in the wake fo a federal appeals court ruling favoring the Lipan Apache Tribe in Texas:
I for one think it’s high time to recognize the rights of state-recognized tribes. Those who need eagle feathers and parts for prayer and ceremony to practice and preserve their ways of life deserve the right to do so.

And federally recognized tribes should support state tribes on this. After all, if the 1940s to 1960s Termination era is any indication, federally recognized tribes are by no means immune from the threat of losing their recognition status. During Termination, over 100 tribes had their federal recognition status terminated.

Had that happened today under the current eagle law, those tribes would have faced the same situation that state tribes now face. They would have had no access to eagles.

It happened before. You can bet it can happen again.

And no one is immune.

That’s why federal tribes need to stand behind state-recognized tribes and support their access to eagles. We need to expand the eagle law to include state-recognized tribes. Because when one tribe is prevented from practicing and preserving their ways of life, all tribes are prevented from practicing and preserving their ways of life.

Get the Story:
DaShanne Stokes: The Eagle Feather Law and State-Recognized Tribes (Indian Country Today 9/2)

5th Circuit Decision:
McAllen Grace Brethren Church v. Salazar (August 20, 2014)

Department of Justice Eagle Feather Policy:
Memorandum: Possession or Use of the Feathers or Other Parts of Federally Protected Birds for Tribal Cultural and Religious Purposes (October 12, 2012)

Related Stories:
Non-recognized tribe in Texas hails ruling in eagle feather case (08/26)