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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES POLICY ON TRIBAL MEMBER USE OF EAGLE FEATHERS


WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today a policy addressing the ability of members of federally recognized Indian tribes to possess or use eagle feathers, an issue of great cultural significance to many tribes and their members. Attorney General Eric Holder signed the new policy after extensive department consultation with tribal leaders and tribal groups. The policy covers all federally protected birds, bird feathers and bird parts.

Federal wildlife laws such as the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act generally criminalize the killing of eagles and other migratory birds and the possession or commercialization of the feathers and other parts of such birds. These important laws are enforced by the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior and help ensure that eagle and other bird populations remain healthy and sustainable.

At the same time, the Department of Justice recognizes that eagles play a unique and important role in the religious and cultural life of many Indian tribes. Many Indian tribes and tribal members have historically used, and today continue to use federally protected birds, bird feathers or other bird parts for their tribal cultural and religious expression.

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