Sacred Indian Regalia Falls off Van in Transit

Lakota headdress (Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty)
Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty

A tribal dancer with the Lakota tribe has an urgent request: finding a plastic case lost on the highway that contains his headdress, bustle, dance stick and shield, all adorned with eagle feathers.

Chuck Cadotte told ABC10 San Diego that he was driving to Lemoore, California in a van for the annual Tachi Pow Wow on Friday when he noticed the case had fallen off on the way.

The van had been so packed that the case had to be strapped on the roof; and it apparently fell off between San Diego and Santa Clarita. Because it was dark, and the vans had the windows open, Cadotte and the three other people in the van neither heard nor saw the case fall.

Cadotte said mournfully, “I’m still in shock…The feathers represent a spiritual connection with our creator. I hold these feathers in my dance regalia, close to my heart.” Cadotte had received the feathers through a federal repository, as only Native Americans with special permits can use them.

The ABA Journal reported that new feathers may be acquired only through the National Eagle Repository because  the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act outlaws killing eagles, or even picking feathers off the ground. In addition, in many American Indian religions, the eagle is considered a link to the creator and the spirit world.

Photo: file