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Hunting Rocky Mountains Wyoming

Wyoming Tribe Granted Permit to Kill Bald Eagles

by Dylan Polk   |  March 14th, 2012 74

Bald_Eagle_PortraitNot many people know there are special permits to take bald eagles — the prospect even took a few of our co-workers by surprise.

Nevertheless, the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming was granted a permit to kill two bald eagles Friday after winning a lengthy court battle in which tribe officials contended that the kill is part of the tribe’s religion.

The Associated Press reports that thousands of tribes apply for eagle feathers and carcasses from federal repositories, but permits to actually kill eagles are becoming more and more rare, as the bald eagle is protected by federal law under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

However, the permits granted to the Northern Arapahos could conflict with the wishes of another Wyoming tribe, the Eastern Shoshones, who filed a federal suit Tuesday saying the tribe opposed the killing of bald eagles on Wind River Indian Reservation, which the tribes share.


(SPORTSMENVOTE.COM POLL: Should Native American Tribes Be Able To Kill Bald Eagles? Vote Now!)


The Fish and Wildlife Service said in 2009 it had never granted permits to kill bald eagles, though it had granted permits to the Hopi Tribe in Arizona to kill golden eagles since the 1980s.

The lawsuit was filed last year after tribe member Winslow Friday shot and killed a bald eagle at Wind River Indian Reservation to be used in the tribe’s Sun Dance, resulting in a long court battle. Charges were later dismissed by then-federal judge William Downes, who said any effort by Friday to obtain a permit would have been pointless. However, federal prosecutors appealed the decision and reinstated criminal charges. Friday pleaded guilty after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

  • Daniel McGinn

    Dead eagles today. Public stoning and beheadings tomorrow. This is what happens when the government starts to pick and choose what religions have 1st amendment rights and which don't. They use separation of church and state at their convenience.

    • chris

      Why not, they were here FIRST. You have the nerve to talk about convenience? Was it convenient for them when white racist Imperialistic Christians stole their lands, raped and murdered their women IN THE NAME OF GOD and butchered their braves with higher technologies? Without a chance in hell, they gave up. What legacy do we leave our children; poisioned oceans, rivers,lakes, air and a government that does nothing to corporations who legally get away with killing their people, cigarettes….Why do most American's refuse to recycle and drive huge SUV's and KILL MORE THAN THEY NEED FOR SPORT ……………………………. ? Natives were RESPECTFUL and RESPONSIBLE to our environment. They can be trusted with such things. Idiot.

  • me3401

    This is an interesting story for many different reasons. Native American tribes are sovereign nations. I assume the killing of the eagles are to be done on reservations lands (not specifically stated, but implied), so special laws apply, although I thought all American are governed by the Federal laws. The eagles are being killed for a religious celebration, although definitely not a christian religion. Eagles are no longer an endangered species, although they are still listed as threatened. Those are good reasons to support the killings.

    On the negative side, it is doubtful that a non-Native American would ever be granted the same permit, regardless of the professed/defined religous motives.

    To me it is a case of discrimination (in the favor of a minority).

    Unless policies are defined that allow all American to seek a permit to kill an eagle, then it is my opinion that the permit should not be granted. Although that seems to be moot point now.

    • cuzsis

      Some of the rights of the Native Americans differ from some of the rights of the American people, as they were here originally doing these things before the American people showed up. Like most cultures, they wished to retain as much of their heritage as possible so they preserved what they could in the treaties.

      Many minors are given alcohol as part of their religion (communion) and while it is illegal to serve minors alcohol, the government permits this as a special situation.

      As bald eagles are no longer endangered, I see no reason why this can't be done. Although as a Native American myself, I am opposed to killing eagles…but it's not my tribe, so it's not my say. The government seems to be handling it carefully enough so I'm reasonably confident that what decision they come to will be proper for now.

  • Mike

    As long as they use all the old tradittional methods of killing an eagle that their forefathers used; ie bareback pony that they captured and tamed, bow and arrows that they fasioned out of natural materials, traditional food and clothing that they gathered, grew, made or killed, and traditional tracking and hunting methods.
    No cameras, gps, binoculars, bottled water, packaged snacks, guns, crossbows, and four wheel drives.
    Go get-em Tonto!

    • Dennis

      Go get-em tonto!

    • RJ

      traditional food, and clothing…hmmm… you mean like the buffalo that YOUR forefathers annihilated? And would the wild ponies be the same ones that white ranchers have been slaughtering for decades to sell to the dogfood companies? Well, "Kemosabe"… maybe they should go back to killing and scalping ignorant white people that are on their "traditional hunting grounds" too… starting at your house. Stupid bigot…

  • Penny Melody

    Not one person, no matter what their beliefs, should ever be able to kill such a beautiful, protected bird. I am appauled by this.

    • yarddog21

      So, I hope you never have to defend your right to preach the gospel, if you are a religious person, or own a gun if you live in a high crime area, or defend yourself from bodily harm if you are attacked by a criminal. Because these are all rights guaranteed by the constitution, as is religion, regardless of what type of religion it is. "Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment,or prohibiting the free excerisethereof.", U.S. Constitution, amendment 1.

    • Paul Lehigh

      What about unprotected birds like chickens?

  • D H Gover

    In view of the above I believe the American people should demand that our Government publish an official policy for such killings. We should require the Government to produce a statute that defines the rules and who must obey them. The first comment in this little group mentions willy-nilly use and misuse of the absolutely vital policy of maintaining the separation of church and state, and this is an aspect that must be clearly defined in such a new statute. The Government must be called to task in this matter. That's the precedent that should be established.

    • RJ

      yeah… because history shows that the "Government" knows whats best for the native Peoples… huh

  • Frank Wirth

    This is much more destructive than spearing walleyes when they spawn. All indian traditions must be acomplished in the traditional manor, not using anything the white man produced. What are we to do?

    • Steve

      So if the Eagles that are killed where born and raised in a eagle sanctuary ran by the white man dose that mean they are going against their religious believes? Just asking!

    • John Bird

      Can you explain to me what the ( traditional ) manner is ? Because we have been getting them for years in the ( non ) traditional manner of the government !!

  • ray

    To me this is a case of discimination. The majority of people are not predjiduce because of a persons ethinicity, but are predjiduce becuse of the priveliges and rights given to those minorities that the majority of the people don't get.

    • John Bird

      Are you by any chance talking casinos by any chance ?? because it was our land that was stole and the reason behind the casinos..

  • Len Griffin

    What most people don't know is that they are not just going to go out and shoot an Eagle. Only certain Tribal trained Eagle killers are allowed to do this and it envolves extensive fasting, purification and prayers. It is part of their belief, rituals, religion and customs. It's like the Federal government telling the Catholics that they cannot have wafers at communion or that Chatolics must give communion to anyone who asks. This has been done for 1000s of years until the government ordered them to stop or they would cut off federal assistence on the reservation they were forced to live on.

    • Steve

      Catholics don't have to kill a national symbol to have communion. Not the same at all!

      • yarddog21

        see my reply to penny melody above

    • MikeInTN

      Yet the gov't can tell Catholics that they have to supply contraceptives when it is completely against the "official" convictions of their church. This is just another area where this administration is overstepping the bounds and giving privilege to special groups.

    • Ron

      Why not cut off federal assistance. All I do is pay in taxes so the Government can hand it out to some lazy jerk that won't work. Regardless of their race or religion.

  • Ramsay Lopez

    Why shoudn;t they be allowed to kill a Bald Eagle. It's not as if they are going to slaughter them like the "White Men" decimated the Buffalo herds, also it's a part of their history, beliefs and relegion. It's all right if "Non Native" people hunt and kill Coyotes, Wolves and other small animals (Prarie Dogs Etc.) just for either target pratice or for the pure the pleasure of killing an animal. Itls not like hunters are eating these animals, that's wrong on any level.

  • Pathfinder

    The American Indian has been forced over the years to endure many attempts to make them more white by taking away their land and other property, their culture, clothing, etc. We thank the Great Spirit for watching over us, guiding us and helping our brothers and sisters who keep our traditions and spirituality alive. It is not discriminatory for our people to practice our spirituality that has been practiced for a few thousand of years. The federal government has no role here anyway because we are a sovereign people with our own set of laws. As for the comment above about separation of church and state, one merely has to listen to the retoric of politics today and see that just isn't so. It sounds good but it just isn't so.

    • yarddog21

      I agree witrh you 100%. see my reply to penny melody above

    • Kim

      Your words are wise…please ask the Great Spirit to come and restore the peace in all of us. Have him reach out to my people and teach them about peace, love and co-existing. Ask the Creator to start anew ASAP.

  • paul

    eagles are getting to become a pest,getting to have too many around . pet small dogs and cats are being snatched up.rabbbits and phesants are all disappering ,but eagles are too plentiful.

  • steve

    What about religions where killing and/or consuming humans, raping children (rite of passage), are staples. Should we grant them permits too?

    • yarddog21

      Our federal laws prohibit the mis-treatment of children for any reason, and cannibalism as well.

  • MikeInTN

    Folks, this is not about killing bald eagles, relegious traditions of a people or anything like that. It is about the federal gov't. Personally, I'm offended that anyone who has "American" in his title would WANT to destroy a specimen of our national symbol. But that is such small importance to the overall question of what is our goverment doing???? Catholics are told that they must violate one of their convictions, yet preference is given to another group to apparently go against public opinion so they can practice their relegion as they see fit. Something ain't right.

    • Dan

      Just found out that illegals aren`t going to have to show proof they are American cit to vote ,By Obama,not right when we have to. I guess he needs the votes. from the mex and tribes.

    • yarddog21

      public opinion is not the same as religion. see amendment 1 of the constitution.

  • Ron :Price

    Leave the eagle alone,it is to great a bird to kill. And when did the federal goverment start caring about the american indian? They have yet to live you to one treaty.

  • Bruce

    So if some nut says killing young children is part of his religious belief, are we going to issue him a permit? The bald eagle is our national bird, and protected in all states, why make this exception? If you kill an easgle in Alabama, you better be prepaired to spend a lot of time behind bars being someones girlfriend!!!

    • yarddog21

      just shows your view of someone not white. we have laws prohibiting MURDER of any person, for religious reasons, and amendment 1 of the constitution covers "religion" for all people.

  • Nancy

    It isn't right to kill the eagle just as it shouldn't be right to kill off the wild horses because some rich rancher says he needs the land for grazing his cattle. Why not raise buffalo that can graze and share the land

    • Paul Lehigh

      Wtf The ranchers dont want to share thats why

  • Paul

    What has this contry came to when the right to kill the national bird is given
    Whats next?


    thats bull!!!! I dont care what religion you are…you shouldn't have to kill a on the verge of being extinct species to be apart of that religion… besides like the guy said above whats next? you fucktards are given the right to kill our national bird whats keeping you from wanting to destroy something else just as important or endangered in this world… the supreme court nedds to open ther eyes and have some common sense and put a stop to this BS!

    • yarddog21

      you should head obamas campaign for re-election, because he wants to take away our constitutional rights too. see amendment 1 of the constitution, as it covers ALL religions.

    • RJ

      Verge of being extinct? You do realize that there are over 70000 bald eagles in North America, right? On June 28, 2007 the Interior Department took the American bald eagle off the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Final rule announcing the de-listing of the bald eagle. This Government is trampling all over our Constitution and laws, is throwing our nation into an economic shit storm, just to state a couple obvious issues, and THIS is what you want to fight about… two Eagles? You should maybe open YOUR eyes. And the term "fucktard" makes you look like one

  • phil henson

    We have taken enough from these people, I say let them be.I hope they would do it in a tradtional way.,and not abuse this chance., but let them do as they choose,For you younger people, remember, they were drove from there grounds and badly lied to,As a white man i hold my head in shame for what we did, We preyed on the weak, they stood no chance,They fought for what was theres, nothing else.

    • Johnnie Hawkins

      Phil you need to get over your white guilt. The arapaho and other plains indians drove out the smaller and weaker tribes and took the land from them. Also the great horse culture was only possable because of the HORSE that was brought to this nation by the EUROPEANS. So please spare me the whining and be thankful that you were blessed enough to be borne an AMERICAN.

      • RJ

        actually… horses were brought here by the Spanish

    • Dennis

      How long are we going to pay for the wrong doing of are anseters.we are all americas native or not we all need to live by the same rule as all of use.


    It's just rediculous to think anyone could be granted a permit to kill our nation bird! But as weak of a nation we are becoming it is believable……would someone in our goverment or our judicial system grow a backbone,show some sense or even a little RESPECT!

    • yarddog21

      the"'GOVERNMENT" is trying to take our rights away now, so the last thing we need is more of them.

  • Kathy

    The ''ALL MIGHTY EAGLE''should forever be protected! ISAIAH 40:31

  • Chuck

    If you are not Native American this subject is none of your business and your opinion of it doesn't matter.

    • Nate

      Wrong Chuck. They live off of my tax dollars so it is absolutely our (Americans) business. I say stop taking our money then you can stop living by our rules.

      • RJ

        really? how much of YOUR money do you think goes to them? Maybe you don't realize it, but the absolute poorest communities in this country are on reservations.

      • Ramsay Lopez

        You are an idiot, the white men slaughtered the native people (women and children included) and stole their land. Give them back their land and go back to the country where your ancestors came from.

    • Jim Schall

      Maybe we should not impose our White man beliefs and rules on the American Indian.
      Of course, this means no more unemployment benefits and no more alcohol.
      If you are an American Indian, you should not get a say on the above as these are White Man contrivances
      and None of Your Business.

      • RJ

        yes sir, take your unemployment and your alcohol; "cuz all injuns' are drunkin' derelicts" – you ignorant puke… and stick them up your ass, but at the same time, how about you white folks stay off of Indian land drilling and mining for minerals, uranium, oil, and oh yeah… stop stealing the waters and piping it to your cities. White men stole everything that he has here…. natives tried to be civil and show them how to live with nature and be content… but the greed and evil of the white man has all but destroyed this once beautiful and bountiful nation.

        • Ramsay

          Well said RJ, I couldn't agree with you more.

  • Gart

    I'd love to hear how some of you so fond of Eagles that you'd deny killing 2 of them for religious purposes stand on hunting another animal on the comeback from being endangered: wolves. Oh, but I forgot its ok for white guys to go a killin'.

  • mike

    i think there are to many eagles in wyoming , everything needs to be balanced . eagles wil kill off your small game we need to control an preserve both prey and predator

  • jstar

    Maybe they, the Native Americans, should have helped with the millions of dollars that have been spent to restore this national symbol. If it were not for us spending money to protect and restore these birds, there would be NONE FOR THEM TO KILL ! This is unbelievable!

    • RJ

      Maybe if it wasn't for greedy white people destroying all the habitat… AND killing so many of the birds, they wouldn't have needed to be protected and restored in the first place.

  • John

    I can't agree to the excuse it is part of our culture and our religion when a weapon that the American Indian NEVER used in any ceremony was the weapon of choice. Just so you know I am Cherokee by heritage. I do not support this in any way unless they honor ALL of the traditions of the Eagle Ceremony. At no time in the history of the rite was a GUN ever used in the Ancient Traditions. Let them either adhere to all traditions or adhere to none!

    • RJ

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that the Cherokee Peoples have an Eagle Ceremony, do they? They have an Eagle Dance, but that isn't what is being discussed here. I can assure you that the person who has to pull the trigger isn't getting their rocks off doing it, more than likely it will cause a deep sorrow for the person to kill his own relative in such a way… but that is part of THEIR traditions and religion. As far as "all or none" as you put it, does that mean anyone that has stolen a girlfriend from a buddy, or lied about ANYTHING, or took the Lords name in vain should just quit claiming to be a Christian? And if the Arapaho were to adhere to ALL traditions… are you ok with being scalped? I would guess that you wouldn't… and just so you know- I'm Choctaw married to Apache

  • Patti

    Absolutely unbelievable this is happening to.our National Bird….what is this country coming to? Sick people!!!¡!!

    • RJ

      do you eat tuna? Well if you do, you are more than likely supporting the people that kill dolphins, seals, and whales… OH MY GOD! YOU ARE AN ACCESSORY TO MURDER!!!! You sicko! Get over it, its two birds that are to be used down to the last bone, and treated with total respect (unlike how you are treating these people) It's not like the good ol' days when Billy Bob and Jimbo went out "shootin'em jus' to see if'en they could hit'em after the first sixpack"

  • JHJimbo

    they probably just want the feathers. why don't they just go to an empty nest and pick some up.

  • meiho

    NO WAY! To many men and women have been killed in the protection of these eagles. Does anyone remember that tey were almost extinct? As a nation we do not allow the killing of animals for religous purposes., chicken,goat's,dogs,sheep,what have you. This no different. The seperation of church and state means the state can not tell me how i pray . NOT what i sacrifice in the name of religion.

    • RJ

      uh, yes we do… ever been to New Orleans or Miami? Santeria is very prevalent in lots of places in the U.S, and ritual sacrifice is very much a part of that. Legality is up to the state laws on the manner in which certain animals are killed, and Kosher meat is blessed and killed according to Jewish religious practices also.

  • Chuck

    Nice that most of your ancestors stole this country and massacred them by the thousands and now you want to tell them what they can do with the little scraps you left them. You should all be ashamed of yourselves and learn to keep your mouths shut when something is none of your business. Eagles are not endangered any longer and their populations will continue to grow.

  • Jeff

    Could some knowledgable Native Arapaho please give us some information, in detail, about this "NEED" to kill eagles?

  • D. KELL




  • 7mag

    Kill two bald eagles with the court's approval, but break Ca. law by killing a mt. lion on a legal hunt in Idaho, and the moronic Dem's want the guy's spot on the F&G commission?!?! What's wrong with this picture?! As for me, two eagles is a tiny fraction-of-a-fraction-of-a-fraction of their total numbers.Somewhere on here, somebody said there are70,000. Come on, TWO?

  • Paul Lehigh

    Its a bird with a life, no more or less important than a chicken or a turkey

  • Paul Lehigh

    Breaking news Zackey Farms is now raising Eagles,all the killing and grilling you want.

  • Degene

    Eagles are being killed by wind milled farms along the high plateau those eagles should be utilize for Native American Tribes.

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