That’s one of the things a new rule issued by the U.S. Dept. of Justice does, and it applies to anyone who isn’t a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe (the Lumbee Tribe is a state — but not federally — recognized tribe). The rule was made official on Oct. 12 and does the following:
The policy provides that federally recognized tribal members will not be prosecuted for possessing, using, wearing or carrying federally protected birds, bird feathers or other bird parts; picking up fallen feathers found in the wild, without molesting or disturbing federally protected birds or their nests; giving or loaning federally protected bird parts to other members of federally recognized tribes; or giving feathers or other parts of federally protected birds to tribal crafters to be fashioned into objects for eventual use in tribal religious or cultural activities.
The new rule particular affects the Lumbee Tribe because, as the Fayetteville Observer writes,
Councilwoman Audrey Hunt told the 21-member council and about 100 tribal members at Thursday’s Tribal Council about the policy. … Hunt asked those in attendance to raise their hand if they had received an eagle feather, which is considered the highest honor to bestow upon an American Indian. About a dozen people raised their hands.
Be that as it may. It seems our long national nightmare of feather picker-uppers and givers is now over.
And I’m pretty sure the ruling applies to feathers and other eagle parts left lying on the ground beneath wind turbines under federally permitted eagle slaughter.