New Eagle Feather Rules Coming – How Will You Be Affected?

New Eagle Feather Rules Coming – How Will You Be Affected?

Changes are coming to how you can obtain eagle feathers.  New rules will go into affect this fall!

According to Indian Country:

Of the new proposed rules, major changes apply to American Indian prison inmates, who submit more than half of the applications for feathers, said Bernadette Atencio, Repository supervisor, who noted that changes in policy may “make more feathers available to non-incarcerated tribal members.”

The large number of inmate feather applications was a focal point for the new regulations, which would generally limit prisoners to one eagle order within their facility’s policy in order to halt constant re-orders. The FWS also plans to process feather replacement orders (not-reorders), generally received from prisoners with lengthy sentences with long-time use of the feathers.

The new set of rules will also change the procedures for requesting whole birds.  Approval by a tribal leader will be required.

Do you agree with these changes?

Will it affect you?

Will it make getting feathers quicker?

View Full Story –

Photo by Medicinehorse.

Last Updated on November 1, 2018 by PowWow Articles

33 Comments on “New Eagle Feather Rules Coming – How Will You Be Affected?”

  • Avatar for Stephanie Cisneros

    Stephanie Cisneros


    The link to the full article is broken. Can someone please provide a usable link for more information?

  • Avatar for Deanna



    For those of us who have a permit for feathers we also have to keep strict records of who we give them to and why. I do not see any reason to deny our incarcerated brothers and sisters the right to their heritage if they are truly meaningful in their spiritual journey. I do know however that they may not be able to take proper care of their feathers through no fault of their own and for that reason other types of feathers may be a better choice. It is the thought behind the prayer not what you pray with that matters most. As for children having them on their powwow regailia I also think that “fake” eagle feathers would be a better choice as they do not know the proper care of their feathers at such a young age, and have not earned them as well.

  • Avatar for Susan



    Hello, I am the Nelly Woman (Grandmother) to a 1/2 Navajo Grandson who is 2 years old. I am very interested in finding out about any traditions that would involve his heritage. Should he have a feather and what are they used for and how would he earn one? Thank you for understanding my ignorance to the tribal ways I am learning and wanting to learn and keep his heritage and traditions alive in our home. Thank you.


  • Avatar for Albert



    There is an artist superiorregalia on facebook. They make some great looking imitation feathers.
    They are real nice for Powwows and replaceable unlike Eagle feathers. Good for the kids too until they can earn Eagle feathers.

  • Avatar for NuTtz



    Where do i sign up or where can i get an application to get Eagle feathers? (for ceremonial purposes.)

  • Avatar for neshoba cunningpig

    neshoba cunningpig


    I was awarded my eagle feathers for feats of honor I did for tribe, and for teaching traditional ways of life.

  • Avatar for Christi Cox

    Christi Cox


    Why in The Creators good Earth do we have to ask a white man permission for anything????????? The Creator decides who deserves a feather and who doesn’t.

  • Avatar for Lisa



    where do we order eagle feathers from ?

  • Avatar for Harlan Racine

    Harlan Racine


    I do not see where anyone in their right mind would believe that a tribal council person or any other designated individual would be fsir to the people it is well known fact the councils or so called leaders can not be trusted, The people will have nothing but they will have everything, it is just another governmental screwing for the people.

  • Avatar for nina



    I do not think inmates should be able to have an Eagle Feather,they are incarcerated for whatever’and then they go to prison and become all native.if anything they should get one for not going to prison or for staying out!sad!

  • Avatar for Tammy



    I think that it is crazy and not right…as us native Americans we can have what we want because we ate native american Indian…I don’t think the rules should change….

  • Avatar for Dora



    Eagle feathers have become so prolific on the pow wow scene it makes me sad. I see little children with eagle feathers on their regalia. Eagle feathers are supposed to be earned with honor. As far as I’m concerned, distribution of these feathers is given to the wrong people, they should be distributed by Natives, NOT the government!

  • Avatar for Veronica



    What is this with beating up on inmates for being spiritual? They have just as much right. Making a mistake doesn’t or shouldn’t automatically sentence you to death. WTH people. It’s white man’s laws anyway.

  • Avatar for Jo-Ellen Loring

    Jo-Ellen Loring


    If you find a feather in the wild, can you keep it if you’re an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe?

    • Avatar for Scott



      ABSOLUTELY NOT !! That is a Federal crime! Even if it’s on your property. In plain words,, you cannot have an Eagle feather unless it was thru legal channels.

    • Avatar for CJ



      No. You have to have a permit to own them and get them from the repository.

  • Avatar for Shaunee S. George

    Shaunee S. George


    It may make it faster for those ordering who aren’t incarcerated. But i think it is unfair to the Native American population that is incarcerated. Why?It’s common practice in the NDOC facilities for the C.O.’s to purposely mishandle inmates Eagle Feathers. They, I wont say all,have no respect for the Native Brothers and their Religious property. No surprise really. They don’t bother to take the time to understand it let a lone accept it.I know one male inmate who ordered his feathers, got his approval/acceptance letter then waited for their arrival. They never made it. When an inquiry was made thru the grievence process, it was discovered that the feathers had indeed made it to the prison and been signed for by a C.o. Where the feathers went after being signed for, is still a mystery and that was at least two years ago. How was this issue resolved? This inmate was given a “re-order” form by the chaplain. The next set of feathers were delivered to the inmate. Another inmate was taken to the infirmary due to illnes. while being taken out of his “house” he asked a C.o. to make sure that his personal effects were taken care of while he was out. The C.o. reasured the inmate that nothing would be touched while he was gone. When the inmate returned home and discovered his lock box had been gone thru, he found his eagle feather to be broken. he too was given the re-order form to fill out. This inmates grievence made it to the first level, where he recieved written notice that his greivence had been recieved. That is as far as the grievence went. The prison staff is unable to locate his paperwork. Prisoners are stripped of their rights once they walk through those walls. Their right to their religion is all they have left to keep them connected to home, to family, to themselves. it is their religion that keeps them from going insane. it keeps them centered and gives clarity to their minds when issues such as this arise. Was there an investigation into why there were so many ‘re-orders’ coming from the prisons? however wrong some may think it to be for inmates to have feathers,or handle feathers while incarcerated it really isn’t up for us to say. only creator has that power. The life that the native men live is not one i would ever want to experience. its a whole nother world where they have created their own society. The feathers are sometimes given from one brother to another as a gifts for friendship. Some feathers are earned for their courage or strength. It is unfair for the native incarcerated population to lose what they have as much right to as those of us on the streets. It’s just wroing.

    • Avatar for Alta



      Tahu-I agree with you 100% on this. Who are we to Judge. Our Spirits will take care. I hope and Pray that these inmates are able to have their Feathers,We do not know their stories, they need to be connected in some way. Peace naka Love to all my Native Brothers naka Sisters, Naka All MY Relations.

  • Avatar for Patrick Red Dog

    Patrick Red Dog


    Too bad just any Native brother or sister can be in possession of an eagle feather. Having one is supposed to be an honor, earned by the individual. Years ago you had to know why you carried each and every feather and what each feather signified. Presently I see little kids wearing them at Pow-wows, irreverent and cheapening the value of the eagle feather. A convicted felon needs the good of the spiritual path, but you don’t need eagle feathers to pray; you need the desire to be connected with the meaning of the good road, known to most as the red road. Our children need to prove their knowledge and maturity to carry an eagle feather; likewise our convicted felons need to prove that they deserve the privilege of having or wearing one again, and not because it’s a right. The Native American Inmates should not be deprived of the chance to use an Eagle Feather, but not at the expense of persons who have actually earned one. I believe it should be toughened up for everyone, not just the inmates.

  • Avatar for BOLO BAD ELK

    Eagle feathers are sacred to native americans indians and for honored traditions and honor people,and you have to be a tribal member or a decendant in order to received a eagle feather.they are not suppose to be hand out like a novality item and suppose have a tribal card as proof to received a feather

  • Avatar for Nancy



    What if your non status is it possible?

    • Avatar for Waagoosh



      No status , no feathers by law .

  • Avatar for Melissa Scott

    Melissa Scott


    My kids are Alaskan native how do I find out therrules and regulations regarding them being in possession of an eagle feather? Where do I get this information at

  • Avatar for Mike Green

    Mike Green


    I’m always interested in anything that has to do with eagle feathers or eagles…. Keep me posted please.

    • Avatar for john merrick--whitewolf

      john merrick--whitewolf


      every native brother & sister that is not living on res.say it is like being out of jail.

  • Avatar for Tonya



    This will speed up the process for non-incarcerated Native American and Native Alaskan individuals such as my family. I had no idea that more than half of the applicants were behind bars. I have no problem with any Native person having access to the feathers, if they do so in a good way. My family and I provided eleven feathers for graduates this past May 2013, and were glad to do so, as that was our intention in becoming feather permit holders several year’s ago. I believe this is a good move and decision; I support Ms. Atencio’s statements, and know her to work with people as best as she can when filling these orders which are backlogged several years in some cases. My husband has waited nearly four years for an entire golden eagle, and he will patiently wait as long as it takes. While I believe prisoners should have access to prayer and spirituality, I also believe they lose out on certain freedoms by the path they have chosen.

  • Avatar for Annette



    I get pictures from my brother all the time from prison and I don’t know if he is being honest with himself, being in there, you are reduced to your basest nature, and he has an eagle feather with him all the time. You know when he was out, he had no interest in going to meetings, or church, or the white church, so I’m glad in a way that he has found his way. I can’t wait to see him again, and hopefully his spirituality will extend past prison to the real world.

    As for the feathers, I finally submitted my first application and am patiently waiting for what I ordered…of which I don’t remember…lol I think it was 2 eagle fans for my sons. I don’t think I will need replacements, but you never know, it may be years or decades (knock on wood). So yeah, it doesn’t affect me.

  • Avatar for stella chavez

    stella chavez


    I’m sorry, but when my boy received their Eagle feathers when they graduated from high school, they were told that they had to walk the Red Road, stay out of trouble & always honor your parents. How is it that that incarcerated natives feel they deserve Eagle feathers? My son was incarcerated & he felt it was a dishonor to even have a sweat lodge in prison.

    • Avatar for lisa



      I currently work with native american inmates and honestly the sweat lodge helps with their spiritually following the right path, as for the feathers I have to agree with you they should earn the feathers by having a successful transition within prison and upon successful release, but we cant forget our people need us no matter what their past I believe they will find their way if we dont believe in them who will?

    • Avatar for LoriL



      Many ndns end up in prison for the same crime a white kid would get a slap on the hand, or a much shorter sentence for, my son included. He’s grown & been blessed while in there, due to the Native men who took him under their wing & who will be in for decades after he gets out. I would never deny those gentlemen an eagle feather, a sweat lodge, or a pipe.

    • Avatar for alta



      I have to disagree,In my own opinion,just because someone goes to prison and is paying for a crime that they committed, I don’t think it is for Any of Us to Judge whether they are “walking the red road” or Not We do not know this person’s story, We are Native people,We forgive, we love, we sacrifice, we pray but We DO NOT place judgments upon others, The spirits will take care of them, Whether it be good or bad,Being incarcerated they may need their eagle feather for strength or Prayer, We DO NOT know, Just because they are incarcerated does not make them bad people or Unworthy. Peace and Love.

    • Avatar for Linda Kennedy

      Linda Kennedy


      Great point!! Walk the Red Road.

  • Avatar for Jim Hitchcock

    Jim Hitchcock


    I don’t know if it will make it faster or not. I guess it depends on whether you want a specific type of Eagle or any type, whole bird or just feathers. But it migh speed up the process a little.

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