Judge: Preserve Tribal Religion

October 17, 2006


Source: Jackson Hole Star-Tribune, the


It's important for the federal government to protect bald eagles, but it also has a compelling interest in preserving Indian tribes and their cultures, a federal judge determined.

That's why U.S. District Judge William Downes dismissed a federal charge against a Northern Arapaho tribal member who killed a bald eagle last year, the judge explained in a written decision issued Friday.

The ruling was hailed by Northern Arapaho leaders on Wyoming's Wind River Indian Reservation.

"This decision shows that the rights of Native Americans are taken seriously in the federal courts of Wyoming," Northern Arapaho Business Council member Harvey Spoonhunter said in a news release. "We appreciate Judge Downes' attentive and clear-sighted approach to this issue."