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Judge allows Shoshone tribe into faith-based eagle permit case

Published: Saturday, May 26 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

This Jan. 1, 2005 file photo shows a bald eagle stretching its wings near Lake Meridian in Kent, Wash. The Wyoming tribe that earlier this month received the nation's first permit allowing members to kill bald eagles for religious purposes has renewed its legal challenge against the federal government over permit language that prohibits killing the birds on the tribe's reservation. (King County Journal, John Froschauer, Associated Press) This Jan. 1, 2005 file photo shows a bald eagle stretching its wings near Lake Meridian in Kent, Wash. The Wyoming tribe that earlier this month received the nation's first permit allowing members to kill bald eagles for religious purposes has renewed its legal challenge against the federal government over permit language that prohibits killing the birds on the tribe's reservation. (King County Journal, John Froschauer, Associated Press)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A federal judge is allowing the Eastern Shoshone Tribe to challenge the Northern Arapaho's plan to kill bald eagles on the reservation they share in Wyoming.

U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson agreed to allow the Eastern Shoshone Tribe to participate as a "friend of the court" in the lawsuit the Northern Arapaho Tribe filed last year against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The federal agency in March issued the Northern Arapaho Tribe the nation's first permit allowing the killing of bald eagles for religious purposes. The permit would allow the Northern Arapaho to kill two bald eagles, but only outside the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Other tribes and individual Indians in the Southwest have secured federal permits allowing them to kill golden eagles.

In asking for permission to intervene in the case, the Eastern Arapaho Tribe noted that it has an indivisible, one-half interest in all the wildlife on the reservation. It states that killing eagles would violate its cultural beliefs and also says that it would be against the joint Shoshone and Arapaho Law and Order Code.

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