The eagle-Hopi “relationship”? It’s complicated

English: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)...
English: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in Tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two writers in the The Denver Post’s Perspectives section on Sunday shared differing viewpoints on the Hopi ritual killing of eagles.

One, identified as Peter Whiteley of the American Museum of Natural History, wrote of the special “relationship” Hopis have had with the birds for a long, long time.

It seems some Hopis take very young eagles from their nests, give them gifts, tether and confine them, and otherwise treat them “like humans in another form” until suffocating them, plucking their feathers and burying them in a special cemetery.

Whiteley writes, “The very basis of these practices requires that humans and raptors renew their relationship annually.”

Relationship? As Whiteley employs the word, he intimates that the eagles somehow are willing participants in these interactions.

One suspects the eagles might have a different take on it.

Here are the opinions:

Should the Hopi people continue to have the right to kill eagles? Yes

Should the Hopi people continue to have the right to kill eagles? No