Hopi tribe free to gather eaglets for religious ceremonies

April 29, 2013

The federal government has decided against limiting the number of nesting golden eagles that Hopis can collect for religious ceremonies. The Hopi tribe had been authorized to collect 40 eaglets this year for religious use.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had planned to reduce that number further, but the agency reversed itself last week, because Hopis were concerned about not being able to visit traditional gathering areas on the Navajo reservation.

The ruling means Hopis can now gather as many baby eagles as they want.

Hopi religious practitioners gather the eaglets each spring and sacrifice them when they are mature. The birds' feathers are used in other ceremonies and rituals.

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