Northern Arapaho permitted to take eagles for religious purposes

Mar 13, 2012

After two years of review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has issued members of the Northern Arapaho tribe permits to capture two live bald eagles for religious purposes.

Last year, the Northern Arapaho sued Fish and Wildlife Service, charging the agency with violating tribal members rights to religious freedom.

Matt Hogan is with the Fish and Wildlife Service. He says while the application may sound strange to non-natives, the use of eagle parts is very important to tribes.

"We’re really talking about Native Americans who have had a long time, customary traditional relationship with eagles in some cases thousands of years. So as the fish and wildlife service we’re constantly trying to balance the conservation of the species, eagles in this case, with the religious needs of Native Americans."

The application is finite, however, and only allows for two eagles to be captured and Fish and Wildlife officials say that they have not issued any permits of this type in recent memory in the west.