Native American Culture/Found Dead Red Tail Hawk


Hello, I recently found a dead juvenile Red Tail Hawk along the road. I believe there are restrictions about having such animals, feathers, etc. but it did not feel right to me to just leave it there to decay along the highway. I picked it up and brought it home. Would like to bury it. I have been seeing them on a regular basis for 2 years now. Is this a bad "omen" to find a dead one? Also would like to keep some feathers and maybe talon, however I do not want to mutilate it or disrespect the animal for my desires. Any Suggestions?

Jane, hawks are a common enough road-kill (especially on blind hillcrests and turns) and being someone who really loves and respects them I appreciate your wanting to give it a nice burial. Eagles are so protected that eagle road kills are actually serial numbered and kept by the Forest Service for distribution by lottery to Native Traditional uses. Hawks, not so much, but it is my understanding that it remains illegal to kill any raptors without a special permit. An example would be a farmer protecting his ducks, etc.

I don't think, if you are respectful, that the dead hawk would mind giving you some of its feathers or a talon, just be advised that if you make something from these items, you will not legally be able to sell it as there are laws against trafficking in raptor parts. Hope this helps.  

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Richard Sutton


As a direct reservation trader in all aspects of American Indian arts since 1985, I've answered questions regarding cultural property issues, origins of traditional crafts, materials and techniques, collecting, authenticity, symbols and, of course, repairs! We have operated a retail gallery since that time, bricks and mortar until 2007 and online since 1996. Our online operation closed in 2/2015, to allow me to finally write full-time. My writing site can be found at I'll be adding a book or two from our trader experiences under the pen name of W.T. Durand and the rest of my fiction is under my own name. We are not "New Age" practitioners of adopted American Indian religious ceremonies or combined philosophies. If you are seeking such knowledge for spiritual reasons, we will only provide answers that address factual information on these subjects. Unless one is raised in a traditional, American Indian family with language, culture and religious belief intact, we don't believe that simply applying the trappings or cultural property of a given traditional group will give a non-Indian (Native if you prefer)any insight other than the academic.


My primary focus is on Southwester American Indian Nations and their people, but I also have experience in Plains and Northeastern traditions, having engaged in active trade and retail since 1985 and study for most of my life. I am not claiming any expertise at all in the work, techniques, lifeways or crafts that are made by the Native People of Mexico. They are not the same, either linguistically or culturally but certainly their crafts deserve discussion and appraisal by those who are able to provide real information.

I was a guest on Fox Network "Lifestyles" program, during the 1990s, to discuss how to tell forgeries, and authenticating jewelry as Native American work. I have also written extensively for our website, and our Ebay Store.

UofO, 1970 active in the Authentic American Indian Arts business and direct Trader since 1985. Graphic Designer and published novelist.

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