Some Native American tribes recognized in South Carolina want to use eagle feathers during their rituals, seasonal gatherings and celebrations of culture.
But a U.S. government decision allows only federally-recognized tribes to use the feathers.
The decision means that tribes recognized only by the states violate the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act if they possess feathers without a federal permit.
Will Moreau Goins is chief of the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of South Carolina.
Goins feels the restrictions on tribes not federally recognized is a violation of civil rights and religious freedom.
“Instead of getting in the way and creating a second-class Native American status here, they should be respectful of what the states have done regarding state recognition and state status and they should include us in the legislation and the laws,” Goins tells WVOC.
He says the federal government already administers a process where more than 560 tribes can gain access to eagle feathers, and that could be expanded to include an additional 100 tribes.
South Carolina has one federally recognized tribe and one dozen state-recognized tribes.