SC-recognized tribes want to use eagle feathers

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Some South Carolina-recognized Native American tribes want to use eagle feathers during their rituals.

The State newspaper reports a U.S. government decision allows only federally-recognized tribes to use feathers.

Will Moreau Goins is chief of the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois & United Tribes of South Carolina. Goins is seeking eagle permits in South Carolina.

He says it's a civil rights and religious freedom issue.

Goins says the decision by the U.S. Justice Department restricting the use of feathers to federally-recognized tribes is a mistake.

The decision means that tribes recognized only by the states violate the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act if they possess feathers without a federal permit.

South Carolina has one federally recognized tribe and a dozen state-recognized tribes.