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Government should pay to train tribes in eagle feather practices

Feb 24, 2013 - Diana Mitchell, Riverton

Editor:

On 2005, I wrote a letter about an Arapaho who wanted an eagle for ceremonial purposes. I agreed that the person should have an eagle for ceremonial purposes. But I do not agree with people shooting eagles out of the sky or shooting an eagle sitting on a tree.

The correct manner to collect eagle feathers was a sacred activity. There was a process getting those feathers. The medicine people know eagle feathers are more sacred coming from a live bird.

So shooting the eagle out of the sky or sitting on a tree is not a traditional gathering activity.

The eagle gathering activity was taken from the aboriginal people during the assimilation period. Gathering eagle feathers must be done in an honorable, spiritual and traditional way.

The government should provide funding for education so traditional feather gathering can be done by the Shoshone and Arapaho people. After all, the government took away this activity when they were trying to assimilate them.

We must response each other's culture and history. The aboriginal people, the Shoshone people, had a traditional way of gathering eagle feathers. This must be continued today.

Both the Arapaho and Shoshone must work together for the preservation of our cultural and spiritual activities, such as gathering eagle feathers for ceremonial purposes. The government took away this activity from the aboriginal people, so the government should rectify the damage by providing fund for traditional/cultural education to the tribes.

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