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Ogden medicine man facing feather charges

Published: Tuesday, March 22 2005 1:11 a.m. MST

An Ogden medicine man is facing federal charges for possessing bald eagle, red-tailed hawk and horned owl feathers without a permit.

Besides those misdemeanors, Nicholas Walter Stark also is facing a charge of unlawfully importing a jaguar skull.

Court documents show Weber County deputies found the feathers in Stark's home in July 2000 while they were searching for peyote.

Stark told authorities he was one-quarter Iroquois, but did not have a tribal card.

In October, Stark called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the return of his property.

During the conversation, he told an agent he used the feathers for his ceremonies and work as a shaman but that he was not a registered tribe member.

The government has exempted enrolled members of federally recognized tribes from laws that otherwise prohibit possession of bald and golden eagle feathers, but they must be registered tribe members.

Stark, who co-founded the Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church, previously faced drug charges for possession of peyote and coca leaves, which he said he used in religious ceremonies.

But state prosecutors dropped the charges in October after the Utah Supreme Court ruled members of the Native American Church can use the hallucinogenic cactus.

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