Lawyer Criticizes Bald Eagle Ruling

Cheyenne, WY – A specialist in American Indian law has criticized a federal court's ruling in the case of a Wyoming man who shot a bald eagle for use in his tribe's Sun Dance. Sarah Krakoff at the University of Colorado in Boulder says the ruling follows a pattern of decisions that profess respect for American Indian religion while punishing individual tribal members.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week reinstated a misdemeanor criminal charge against Winslow Friday, a Northern Arapaho.

Krakoff said the panel's ruling has some language that is respectful of Indian religions. But she said the ruling, like other federal cases about Indian religious freedom, ends up punishing the individual Indian practitioner.

Yesterday, Friday's lawyer said he wants the full 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to review last week's decision.