American flag waving in blue sky
Written by Don Byrd

A federal judge yesterday ruled that the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming may not kill eagles on the reservation they share with the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, despite an exemption granted by the US Fish and Wildlife Agency. Because the Shoshone object to the practice, which is of religious significance to the Arapaho, the Agency prohibited the killing on the site, a decision affirmed by the court.

“I think that the most important thing that the judge ruled on, obviously not just upholding the permit in its current form, but recognizing the difficulty of trying to find a least-restrictive solution that can accommodate both tribes,” Varilek said. “The judge pointed out again that it is the United States’ responsibility to consider both tribes’ interest here.”

Varilek said the Eastern Shoshone Tribe is satisfied that Johnson ruled that the federal agency has an obligation to support the practices of both tribes. “I would have to say that when the two tribes can’t find resolution, we end up going before a third party and they try to apply the laws in the best way possible, and I think that they did that in this case,” she said.

You can read the opinion here. (via Religion Clause)