Eagle Feather Case – VICTORY!!!

This past week has been very exciting across Turtle Island.  Below are 3 posts that Pastor Robert Soto (Lipan Apache) has posted recently regarding their long awaited victory in their eagle feather case.  I spoke with Robert last night and he mentioned that he will be writing a more in depth email at a later date with the details of what this all means, as well as announcing the date for a ceremony to receive back the feathers that were taken away in 2006.  PLEASE read his comments below.  Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post, as well as contact Robert with your comments and questions.  He can be reached at ROBTSOTO@aol.com.  You can also follow Robert on Facebook

Pastor Robert Soto (Lipan Apache) performing the Eagle Dance at an outreach in Montana.
Pastor Robert Soto (Lipan Apache) performing the Eagle Dance at an outreach in Montana.

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August 20, 2014

To all my family, friends and those who I have never met but have been supporting us since March 11, 2006 – first of all, thank you so very much for your support these last seven and a half years. But today, I want to announce to you that we have won our Eagle Feather lawsuit, McAllen Grace Brethren Church, et al v. U.S. Attorney General USDC No. 7:07-CV-60, against the Department of Interior in THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT. I’m not sure what all this means except for now, WE HAVE WON! I will be talking to my lawyers on Saturday when they come to speak to us at our Native church service and will write more later as more information is given. We do have to appear one more time in the lower district court to sort of finalize the decision. Continue to pray for us. For now, I would like to thank three individuals. First and foremost, I thank my Lord and my Savior Jesus for His helping hand in our lives. Secondly, I would like to thank our lawyers, Milo Colton of the Cherokee Nation and Marisa Salazar of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas for their endless and tireless continual work these last seven and a half years. Then, thank you to my wife, our family and friends who have stood with us through this whole ordeal. As I stated earlier, I will write more later as more information becomes available. So as it stands, we have won this part of the battle. Keep the next episode of this lawsuit in prayer as we return to the lower district court for the finalizing of the decision.

God bless,

Robert Soto Lipan Apache
from the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas and Pastor of McAllen Grace Brethren Church

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August 21, 2014

Thank you for all your good thoughts concerning our recent feather case decision. But I feel this not over. The government and the courts have given the case room for the Federal Government to regroup and start the fight all over again. You could almost say we won a battle, but not the war. Keep praying for us and our lawyers. My day was occupy with calls, reporters, Emails and FB message concerning the Eagle Feather Case. The war continues and we continue to fortify our faith through our Lord and Savior. God bless and thanks for your prayers.

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Pastor Robert Soto

August 22, 2014

Well, it has been an interesting seven and half year journey. Most of you have no clue as to why we filed the law suit. It started on March 11, 2006 when agents from the Department of Interior of the Fish and Game Department went to our powwow dressed as tourists and filmed and photographed all the dancers at the pow wow. A couple of hours later, an agent from the department came and invaded what we call a sacred gathering, our pow wow. The circle is a special place we not only dance, but it is a place of prayer, a place of ceremonies, a place of traditions and a place where we can just express ourselves as Native People. While at the pow wow, I went to a booth out side the gym in the hall way and I noticed a man harassing my brother-in- law. As I got closer, he waved his badge and told me he was an agent of the Department of Interior, Fish and Game. Then he said to give him my two eagle feathers that I was wearing on my porcupine roach. The feathers that my brother-in -law had were mine. Before I knew it the federal agent tried to enter our circle in the gym. I stood in front of him to block him from going in. What happened next was the craziest excuse for violation of our circle that I had ever heard. He said he had the right to enter into the circle because we had violated three federal laws that ceased the sacredness of the circle giving the United States Government the right to enter our circle and harass our dancers. He stated the laws we violated in the form of three questions. He looked at me and said, “Are you a member of a Federally recognized Tribe. I said I was not so he said, “The law states that if you are not a member of a Federally recognized tribe is a violation of Federal Law and the circle ceases to be sacred.” Then he said, “Did you advertise the event in the newspaper?” as he waved a copy of the article we wrote with a picture and an invitation for the public to attend the pow wow. I said, “Yes.” He then said, “Federal laws says that when a Native American advertises his event in the newspaper, the event ceases to be sacred giving us the right to come and do as we please.” Then he said, “Was there the exchange of money in the circle, like a raffle, fifty/fifty, cake walks, vendor’s selling their crafts and did you honor a veteran by putting a dollar at his feet?” I said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Federal law states that if there is the exchange of money in the circle, the circle ceases to be sacred thus giving us the right to come in and do as we please.” While he went to his truck to take away the beautiful traditional bustle my brother-in- law had made, I went in and warned all the Native people in the circle who had eagle feathers that the Feds would soon be in the circle and I would not be able to hold them back. All I could think about was Custer and the 7th Cavalry sneaking in and massacring our people all over again. The enemy came and struck our pow wow when we least expected. An event made to celebrate and enjoy turned to chaos as our children ran with fear in their faces seeking their parents protection from the Federal Government who through their unjust laws, had violated a place that had always been sacred to our people, the Circle. What would happen tomorrow if our churches or our civil organizations were closed because they advertised their service in the newspaper or because they took up an offering? I am writing this so that you can understand why I had to start this journey almost eight years ago and why I decided that I would fight this until the day I take my last breath.

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Please also see my previous post of February 20, 2014

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5 thoughts on “Eagle Feather Case – VICTORY!!!

  1. I have been following Pastor Robert Soto on Facebook so I am aware of the case and overjoyed at the Victory,Hallelujah! Thank you Jenny for putting me in touch with Round Dance where I first met Robert. I Went To Wicker Family Camp this year and it was Wondefful. ABBA BLESS YOU.

  2. God bless you Robert and your efforts to protect our customs and the sacred circle ,blessings a to all who fight this good fight,with respect and big thanks ,keya.

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