The Last Feather

Kevin Schneider


For thousands of years man has used feathers for decoration of personal items and also in his ceremonies and rituals. Feathers are in widespread use all over the world today by all types of people, despite the Endangered Species Protection Laws. The people I am mainly concerned with at this time are the American Indians due to the very real threat they pose to the wild bird population of the U.S., as well as the effect their need for feathers has on the exotic birds in their respective countries of origin.

Please be assured that all you read here can be proven, documented and verified, and is just a part of the total picture. The following information has not been made available to the general public and has been held in confidence for centuries. The following material may not be easily understood by those who do not worship their God as the Indians do. However, there is one fact that has held true throughout history. Man will not tolerate interference with his religion, for he feels that it is his inalienable right to worship his own God and in his own way, no matter the circumstances.

I assist Native Americans in their preparation for ceremony by supplying them with moulted feathers from macaws, parrots and the smaller psittacines. Every moulted feather that reaches the hands of the end consumer replaces a feather from a slaughtered bird, both indigenous and exotic.

My purpose is to assist in the conservation, preservation and protection of this planet's avifauna. My way is that of the feather. My concern is with one of the final threats to the bird nations, the unnecessary slaughter of birds for their feathers, which takes place on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

I now find myself in a position where I have the background, ability, and distribution network necessary for a successful feather substitution program. This program has been readily accepted by aviculturist and Indian alike. The aviculturists' acceptance is based on appreciation of the beauty of feathers and that something very positive can be accomplished by sending me their moulted feathers instead of throwing them away. The Indians' acceptance has to do with the way I present the feathers to them. In their eyes, the macaw and parrot feathers hold a higher ceremonial value than all other feathers save those of the eagle, wild turkey or water turkey.

The distribution program is designed to flood the Indian feather market with moulted feathers from the captive populations in this country. This program will destroy the price structure which supports the international slaughter of macaws and psittacines in general, for their feathers. It will also reduce the killing of the indigenous species because the "preferred" feathers will be readily available. As the "preferred" feathers become increasingly available, more of them will find their way into the hands of the lower income groups which normally must scour the countryside for the feathers they need. When a permanent program can be established to continue providing moulted feathers year after year, the people will have no need to look elsewhere. The market will no longer be able to sell at a price necessary to support this indiscriminate slaughter, and the bird nations of the Americas will be given the respite they need from this particular form of predation by man. After this plan is operational in the U.S., I intend to expand to the countries of origin to give the wild population further relief.

When the ancestors of the American Indian migrated across the land bridge between what is now Alaska and Russia, their migrations did not stop until they reached the bottom of South America. They then turned northward and over a very long period of time, settled all of South and North America. Tracie routes were established with communities left behind in South and Central America so that the people could obtain needed items. Common items traded were shells, turquoise, jewelry, feathers, skins of animals and live macaws.



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