Feds Tell Native Alaskan Artist He Violates Migratory Bird Treaty Act

"ANCHORAGE, Alaska — For hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years, Natives of Southeast Alaska have paid artisans to create tools, clothing and ceremonial regalia adorned with feathers."

"So contemporary Tlingit carver Archie Cavanaugh was startled last month when U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service personnel told him that items he had advertised for sale violated federal laws. Specifically: a carved hat featuring the wings and tail of a raven, and a headdress, or 'shakee.át,' topped with the feathers of a flicker, a robin-size relative of the woodpecker.

'They told me that under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act they can charge me up to $10,000 and throw me in jail for a couple of years,' Cavanaugh said. 'And they told me that under the Lacey Act they can charge me up to $100,000 and put me in jail for 10 years. It was very scary. I went into complete depression.'"

Mike Dunham reports for the Anchorage Daily News October 16, 2012.

Source: Anchorage Daily News, 10/18/2012