Cherokee Chiefs -  Religion clashes  (9 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: C_ANGEL7/5/00 3:42 PM 
To: All  (1 of 3) 
Tribal religion clashes with eagle protections

Todd Wilkinson Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Far from the ocean waters of the Pacific Northwest, where the Makah tribe is
locked in a legal battle over the right to hunt gray whales, another front,
perhaps more important, is opening in the debate over wildlife versus
religious freedom.

Amid the mesas of northern Arizona, members of the Hopi tribe have asked the
US government for permission to kill young golden eaglets taken from a nest
in Wupatki National Monument for use in traditional ceremonies.

The decision could radically change the protected status of wildlife inside
national parks. If the Interior Department grants the Hopis' request, dozens
of tribes could ask to harvest wildlife such as bison, black bears, and
birds of prey from inside parks for similar reasons.

The issue is so sensitive that Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has
personally asked the department's leading attorney to review the case and
render a ruling soon. The Monitor has learned that the lawyer, John Leshy,
is considering granting a broader exemption to tribes, enabling limited
harvest of nonendangered animals and plants inside parks.

At the heart of the matter is the question of whether the right to practice
native-American religion should take precedence over the role of parks as

"This is a very complicated issue and it needs to be treated extremely
carefully," says David Simon, Southwest regional director of the National
Parks Conservation Association. "One of the crucial questions is: Does the
government consider the Hopi request at Wupatki an isolated case, or does it
intend to open the gates for other tribes at other parks?"

Across the West, the US government has tried to be sensitive to the needs of
native Americans, particularly in allowing the picking of plants at some
parks and monuments. Congress has given Indians the right to gather pinyon
nuts in New Mexico's El Mapais National Monument, for instance.

Indian traditionalists say that harvesting wildlife and plants is central to
their beliefs and to the continuation of their culture. With the Hopi, the
ceremony involving the eaglets eventually leads to the birds' death - with
the feathers used later in prayer - but tribal officials say the rite is
done responsibly.

"We'd be the last ones to do any harm to the larger eagle population," says
Eugene Kaye, the Hopi chief of staff. "It's not that all Hopis go out and
gather eaglets," he says. "Only certain clan members who possess the
expertise can do it. It's something that's been practiced for centuries and
centuries and centuries."

Unlike whales, golden eagles are not endangered, though they are protected.
The Fish and Wildlife Service routinely grants tribes permission to kill
golden eagles and hawks on many private and public lands, but the privilege
has never been extended to national parks.
{gray whales are NOT on the endangered species list...this is

Hopi Tribal Council chairman Wayne Taylor Jr. argues that the American
Indian Religious Freedom Act, and a recent executive order from President
Clinton, show a commitment to honor tribal requests on public lands.
Further, he says, preventing the collection of eaglets would be a violation
of the First Amendment right to religious expression.

"It's a tough issue," Mr. Babbitt told the Monitor in explaining why he
asked Leshy to review the matter. "This isn't about sport hunting. This is
about a deeply religious and sustainable take of eagles that has been going
on for over a thousand years."

Although Park Service officials have been ordered not to talk publicly about
the decision, personnel say there is deep concern. One worry is that the
decision could start a slippery slope for future wildlife protection.

"There are a good number of the big parks that already have tribes
requesting the right to hunt animals," says Jeff Ruch, executive director of
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which last week completed
a survey of national parks. "Parks are unaware and completely unprepared for
a policy change."

Others say plenty of public land is available to tribes - places where the
US government has made it clear that limited, controlled harvest of natural
resources is welcome. Parks, they argue, should be off limits.

"I am sympathetic to tribal needs, but those needs can be fulfilled without
having to go into parks and take live animals," says Frank Buono, a retired
Park Service manager who spent a quarter century with the agency.

Mr. Buono says that in many regions, national parks represent "refuges" free
of human hunting and, in turn, those populations serve an important function
in bolstering the numbers of animals in adjacent wildlands.

In the Makah case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a scathing
opinion in overturning the National Marine Fisheries Service decision to
allow the tribe to harvest gray whales near Neah Bay, Wash. The court called
the environmental review - suggesting there would be no impact on the whale
population - "demonstrably suspect."

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From: C_ANGEL7/6/00 9:55 AM 
To: All  (2 of 3) 
 158.2 in reply to 158.1 
Govt delays eagle decision
JULY 6, 2000

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has delayed the decision to take the bald eagle of the endangered species list, citing concerns on how best to manage the eagle and protect its habitat.

The bald eagle has increased in numbers over the recent years. According to the government, there are 6,000 breeding pairs of the bald eagle.

A decision was expected around July 4 of this year


From: Cherokee21 DelphiPlus Member Icon7/6/00 12:16 PM 
To: C_ANGEL  (3 of 3) 
 158.3 in reply to 158.2 
Maybe they should quit cutting down every 100 year old tree they see. Then maybe the Eagle and other animals would have their homes left intact. In the city of Cleveland the other day they found an eagle that had been attacked by 2 falcons and had to be rescued. This is beacuse the animals are running out of natural habitat. Maybe Janet reno should worry about this instead of the cheap labor she can get from an ndn sweat shop.
I despise her and her whole government hiearchy.

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