Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tough luck, Ward: no feathers for fake Indians

The U.S. government is allowed to bar non-Native Americans from using eagle feathers for religious purposes, even for rituals that imitate or borrow from Indian culture, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Native Americans alone should benefit from a special exemption carved out for government-recognized Indian tribes in a federal law that generally prohibits possession of eagle feathers.

The opinion reversed a lower court that sided with a man in Utah who was not member of a registered Indian tribe and claimed that he been wrongfully prosecuted for incorporating eagle feathers into his own religious rituals. . . .

The ruling stemmed from a Utah criminal case involving Samuel Ray Wilgus, who was found with dozens of bald eagle and golden eagle feathers in his vehicle when he was pulled over by Utah police in 1998.

Wilgus, who is not an enrolled member of an Indian tribe recognized by the federal government, was convicted of illegally possessing the feathers.
Wonder if Wart still has that eagle feather he had on the stand with him during his testimony at the trial of his suit against CU? Search warrant, toute de suite!

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