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house Bill H.R. 3109

Allowing Native Alaskans To Use Bird Parts In Traditional Art

Argument in favor

Allows indigenous Alaskans to preserve traditional art without being fined by the U.S. government.

Argument opposed

This bill only applies to Alaskan Natives and excludes other Native American art traditions.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • The house Passed September 8th, 2014
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedSeptember 17th, 2013

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What is House Bill H.R. 3109?

H.R. 3109 allows native Alaskans to continue making art that incorporates non-edible bird parts, like bones and feathers. By amending the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) — an Act that currently tickets people for buying or selling any kind of artwork that uses non-edible bird parts — this bill would give Native Americans art a pass. The amendment defines who and what kind of art and people who would be exempt from MBTA as:
  • "Alaskan Natives," or anyone who is Aleut, or Eskimo would be exempt from fines
  • "Authentic Alaskan Native article of handicraft or clothing," as in, any traditional article that is produced with natural materials and by an Alaskan Native.
  • Any Alaskan Native art production that involves weaving, carving, stitching, sewing, lacing, beading or painting.


Native Alaskans, migratory birds, and members of the Native Alaskan Art community.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3109

The CBO estimates that the total cost would be negligible to the federal budget, though, the U.S. Fishing and Wildlife service, might see less revenue generated from enforcing criminal penalties.

More Information

Of Note:

The amendment was proposed after the U.S. Fishing and Wildlife service fined a famous Tlingit artist in Alaska for using bird feathers in 2012. The artist ended up having to pay thousands of dollars to the agency.


The Delta Discovery

Sponsoring Representative Don Young’s [R-AK] Press Release

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Official Title

To amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to exempt certain Alaskan Native articles from prohibitions against sale of items containing nonedible migratory bird parts, and for other purposes.

    The federally sanctioned Indian nations should be allowed to continue their traditions. This should include the use of traditional sources. As long as the animals in question are not on the endangered species list.
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