U.S. House Passes Bill to Allow Sale of Feathery Art

The U.S. House today passed a bill to allow Alaska Natives to sell handicrafts that include the feathers of migratory birds. Alaska Congressman Don Young said on the House floor the Migratory Bird Act already allows Alaska Natives to harvest migratory birds.

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“What we have today is a bizarre policy that allows Alaska natives to hunt kill, consume and also use nonedible parts in handicrafts items, but prohibits them from selling these handicrafts,” Young said.

Federal authorities haven’t always enforced the law, but two years ago pursued a case against a Tlingit carver from Juneau. Archie Cavanaugh agreed to pay a $2,000 fine after he was caught trying to sell two wood headpieces online that included flicker and raven feathers. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Young, passed the House by voice vote. Sen. Lisa Murkowski sponsored a similar bill that’s pending in the Senate.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Liz here.

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