Ruined rite with bald eagle upsets Native Americans |

Ruined rite with bald eagle upsets Native Americans

Electa Draper
The Denver Post
Darrell Pino, of the Navajo Nation, was the one who had the eagle and held the ceremony up in Legion Park with his family. He spoke to the media about the ceremony and how they are often misunderstood by non- Native Americans. Today the Native American Rights Fund, the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe held a press conference at 1506 Broadway to address statements made regarding the eagle carcass found in Boulder county and to discuss the use of eagle feathers and eagle parts in Native American traditional ceremonies. On June 4th, 2009, it was reported that a hiker had found an eagle carcass, wrapped in red cloth, in Legion Park in Boulder. The Colorado Division of Wildlife began an immediate investigation as to the cirumstances of the act. They feared that the eagle, which had been decapitated and it's talons and feathers removed, had been illegally poached. It turned out that it had been used in a traditional Native American ceremony. Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

BOULDER – Darrell Pino said Monday he experienced “indescribable” heartache when a Native American ceremony to lay to rest a dead bald eagle was violated by the raptor’s later removal from a Boulder County park.

Pino, joined by several leaders of the Native American community, held a news conference Monday afternoon on the “disheartening” implications of the thwarted spiritual ritual involving the eagle.

Pino, a member of the Dine, also called the Navajo Nation, said he went through years of paperwork to obtain a permit for a deceased bald eagle for religious purposes.

The eagle came from the National Eagle Repository near Denver, a collection point for federally protected animals found dead. The law allows use of deceased eagles in Native American religious practice.

“You’ve got to have some kind of prayer life,” Pino said. “For us as a people it’s always been: ‘We have no rights. We have no religion.’ ”

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