The Northern Arapaho tribe last week won a case in a federal court when the U.S. government dropped an appeal over the tribe’s right to occasionally kill eagles for religious purposes.
The tribe challenged the government in 2012 when a young Northern Arapaho man was charged with killing an eagle that he intended to use in a Sun Dance ceremony.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had issued two permits to the tribe allowing them to kill eagles, but only outside the borders of the Wind River Indian Reservation. The Eastern Shoshone tribe, who share the reservation, oppose the killing of eagles.
In a press release, Northern Arapaho Chairman Dean Goggles said the government’s decision to drop the case means greater religious freedom for his tribe. He said, “The U.S. is now required to issue a permit to the Northern Arapaho for occasional take of an eagle for religious purposes on the entire reservation.”