OKRaptors Native American Aviaries


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Native American Eagle Aviaries

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Eagle Importance and History for the Native Americans

For all Native American tribes, Eagles have a profound religious and cultural significance. Eagles are the messengers to the Creator or those who are no longer with us on earth.  They are revered, sacred and they are always treated with great respect. They carry prayers to the creator and eagles are the only living things to see the face of the creator.

As a wildlife rehabilitator we are occasionally faced  with what to do with non-releasable eagles. To others, they are still the American national symbol.  Eagles enjoy a special legal status.  They deserve and receive special recognition and treatment. 

  • Read about our trip to deliver a non-releasable eagle to the  "Zuni Eagle Aviary", in New Mexico  built in 2000

  • ENN article on the Zuni Aviary

  • Read about the Iowa tribe of Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma who have built an Eagle aviary South of Perkins Oklahoma. The Iowa are also permitted for Eagle Rehabilitation, so if injured Eagles can eventually be released they will be and if not they will give them a permanent home.

Only Native Americans may possess a bald or golden eagle, including its parts (feathers, feet, etc.). The distribution of bald and golden eagles and their parts to Native Americans is authorized by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and regulations found in 50 CFR 22. Qualified (i.e., enrolled members of a federally-recognized tribe) Native Americans wishing to obtain bald or golden eagles or their parts must submit an application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office. The completed application is sent to the National Eagle Repository and the order is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual requests for whole eagles can take up to three and a half years before one becomes available, while a request for individual feathers may be obtained in just a few months. The Repository processes 2,000 applications per year and currently there is a 3.000 application backlog.


Native American, Religious Use - Live Eagle 

This permit allows any one of the 562 Federally recognized tribes to operate an Eagle Aviary on Tribal property, if the Aviary meets specific standards, and they have the same training as other permittees.  They need Annual Veterinary checks for each eagle, and can only distribute feathers to tribal members.  Currently (6-Oct-2008) there two known tribes with such a permit; The Zuni, and the Iowa. For pictures and other information, please see the bulleted links above.