Justice Department Announces Non-Prosecution Policy For Certain Tribal Eagle and Protected Bird Ceremonial Use
Yesterday the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it has issued a Memorandum (full text) to its enforcement personnel formalizing a uniform policy that assures members of federally recognized Indian tribes that they will not be prosecuted under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for certain specified limited use of eagle and other protected bird feathers and parts in cultural and religious activities. Under the policy, tribal members (without obtaining a Fish and Wildlife Service permit) may possess, use, wear and travel with bird feathers or parts; acquire from the wild, without compensation, naturally molted or fallen feathers; give or exchange feathers and bird parts with other members of federally recognized tribes for their use, including to craftsmen (who may be paid for their work) for fashioning into objects for use in tribal religious or cultural activities. The Justice Department. however, will continue to prosecute both tribal members and non-members for illegal killing of eagles and other migratory birds, and for buying or selling of the feathers or other parts of protected birds. (See prior related posting.) CNN reported on the Justice Department's policy announcement.