January 3, 2005 at 12:27 am #13206
This is a shameful thing that has happend. He was presented with a gift from the creator, plain and simple. The gift would have went to waste, but a use was found and I have no doubt that this was the original intention.
The problem is, backed into a corner, the assistant united states attorney or state’s attorney will come out fighting. There have been many recent court cases for both native and (non-native native american church members). The results are mixed and depend on the climate of the regional appelate courts.
I am a Federal Officer and have my own opinions. Bottom line, I would get myself fired before charging someone who is sincerely practicing a traditional native belief. Conversly, I am death on anyone who swings a sacred feather from their rearview.
Federal laws about feather use are fairly few. If your not talking about Eagle feathers, then you fall back to the protected lists. I see tons of people with Hawk feathers at pow-wows, but there is no federal permit for them. However, some time back the USF&W agents were given directions to well….kind of ignore it if there was no question of the spiritual nature of use. Seem’s no one realized that the hawk was also a sacred bird to natives.
Bottom line, I don’t think a court is going to vacate holdings of law on the possession of a great horned owl. I worked as a deputy federal game warden for a while and I just don’t see it happening. Unfortunately, the state courts have the feds to blame when they stick it to someone. I don’t agree with it, and had it been my case, you would probably have the feathers. I have a couple of suggestions if your interested. firstname.lastname@example.org is my e-mail.January 3, 2005 at 12:27 am #13268
OK, I am back from a short absense and can address some of the posts now!
We do have an attorney, one who is well versed in Native Law and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I am happy to report that the case was dismissed before it ever got to court. Seems the Fish and Wildlife Service has a policy that states: “it is our policy not to pursue charges against federally recognized Tribal Members or First Nations People.” Therefore, the case was dismissed.
Just a side note, my husband did not kill the owl, we found it on the side of the road- roadkill. Also, the Great Horned Owl is not on the endangered species list, but is on the Migratory Bird list (even though they don’t migrate) and that is why it’s against the law to possess one. Just FYI!!
We are still going forward with trying to get the owl returned to Matt. Our attorney has referred us to a civil attorney for that.
Take care all and thank you for all the well wishes!
2CLJanuary 3, 2005 at 12:27 am #13269
Gray Owl, I sent you an email.
2CLJanuary 3, 2005 at 12:27 am #13280
It’s times like this when you know your prayers are answered. Thanks to the Creator, and thanks to you guys for making a stand!January 3, 2005 at 12:27 am #13281
It’s times like this when you know your prayers are answered. Thanks to the Creator, and thanks to you guys for making a stand!January 3, 2005 at 12:27 am #13311
Thank you for posting on this. I don’t know you well, but I can say I have a lot of respect for you.
Thank you for clearing up the endangered species thing. I really thought they were endangered. It’s good to know they are not.
🙂 Love & Light, Lynella.
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