Eagle Party

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Green Bag Press




The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is a straight shot up Havana Street off of I-70 just east of downtown Denver, past an Office Depot and the national headquarters of a company called Scott’s Liquid Gold. No signs point to the Refuge, which was created on the site of a chemical munitions facility back in the mid-1990s and is now home to a herd of bison, dozens of burrowing owls, and so many furry prairie dogs that a roadside sign warns oncoming traffic of their potential “XING.” The entrance is hardly inviting, although the officer working the booth there kindly directed me two miles north to the collection of administration buildings where I was able to find the National Eagle Repository, a macabre little division of the Fish and Wildlife Service that collects dead bald and golden eagles and sends them (and their parts) to members of federally recognized Native American tribes who need them for religious rituals and other significant ceremonies. Applying to the Repository is the only way to legally get hold of any part of either eagle in the United States; the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, enacted in 1940, punishes unauthorized possession of eagle parts with a hefty fine and possible prison time.



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