WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- American Indians can now own the feathers of bald eagles and other protected birds but cannot buy or sell them, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday.
The department announced a new policy that allows American Indians to "possess, use, wear or carry" the feathers and other bird parts, CNN reported.
Bald eagles, a U.S. symbol since the late 18th century, came close to extinction, although they have been making a comeback with the ban on DDT use and federal protection. They are an important religious symbol to many tribes.
"The Department of Justice is committed to striking the right balance in enforcing our nation's wildlife laws by respecting the cultural and religious practices of federally recognized Indian tribes," Attorney General Eric Holder said.