All That Glitters

Ted Williams's "Golden Eagles for the Gods" [March-April] is a disgrace and an insult. Defiling a sacred Hopi religious ceremony with crass allegations of torture is a disservice to the readers of Audubon as well as the Hopi Tribe. Williams makes no effort to present the importance of eagles in Hopi religion. Rather, he depicts the practice in a most derogative manner and dismisses Hopi beliefs as pious hocus-pocus. Audubon should be above sensationalizing controversial issues in a manner akin to trashy tabloids. Williams does not mention how eagles arrive at the Eagle Repository (vehicular collision, poisoning, electrocution, shooting), since this would expose the role of American society in killing raptors. Williams makes Audubon a mere soapbox for biased rhetoric.

Eugene Kaye
Chief of Staff, Office of the Chairman
The Hopi Tribe
Kykotsmovi, AZ

Ted Williams replies: When I interviewed Mr. Kaye he could not deny my "crass allegations of torture," although I specifically asked him if they were true. Later they were confirmed by eyewitnesses. Of more concern to me than what Mr. Kaye calls "torture" was his statement that he was "pretty sure" the tribe had been illegally taking golden eagles from National Park Service land all along. (Park Service officials are pretty sure as well.) I have enormous admiration for the Hopi. But they need to remember that in addition to being Native Americans, they are Americans. They're entitled to their religious beliefs, but in my humble opinion, it's time for them to modernize their religious practices.

Audubon and Ted Williams will sit at the right hand of God for this defense of the golden eagle and the laws governing the National Park system. Only [with] diligence will any of the great species survive the next 40 years. A long time before the Hopi Tribe existed, the Greeks thought of the eagle as a messenger of the gods. Only fools kill the messenger. We cannot remain neutral on this issue.

Robert and Alison Capener
Port Townsend, WA

The very fact that the proposed rule to let the Hopi Indians take golden eagles from a national park unit is even being considered is disconcerting to me. We are a nation of diverse races, cultures, and religions. We are governed by one national government set up for the protection of all. My great-great-grandfather was born here, yet it is illegal for me to possess one feather that I have picked up in my own yard, while other native Americans may collect hundreds of them. Where is the equality here?

Sandra J. Blackwell
Springfield, VA

I recently read "Golden Eagles for the Gods" regarding the proposal to take golden eagles from Wupatki National Monument. It's a shame that the overharvesting of wildlife and the continual destruction of wildlife habitat by non-Indians is accepted as a given practice (and has adversely affected native religions since the first settler cut down the first tree.) Should the Hopi be allowed into Wupatki? Were the Hopi or Navajo or Paiute consulted when Wupatki was created?

Boyd Nystedt
Member of the Navajo Nation

Ted Williams's eagle article was one of your all-time best. I'm very happy to see an environmental organization finally have the guts to write about this.

Bill Day
Hotchkiss, CO

Higher Math

Brian Lavendel's article "Green House" [March-April] was timely and interesting, but electricity figures in the table on page 78 are misleading. Is 1.3 pounds of CO2 per kWh an average of three different figures? The Worldwatch Institute reports in State of the World 2001 that on a per-unit energy basis, natural gas releases 28 percent less carbon than oil and 44 percent less than coal. Pounds of CO2 emitted per kWh of electric power are not the same for coal, oil, and natural gas, as shown in the table. I expect Jonathan Foley would agree with my comments.

Lee Bidgood Jr.
New Smyrna Beach, FL

Audubon replies: The figure in our chart is from a July 2000 report by the Department of Energy representing the 1999 national average output rate of C02 per kWh generated. It includes not just coal, oil, and natural gas, but all energy sources used to generate electricity in the United States, including solid waste, nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric power. As you point out, natural gas has less global-warming impact than coal, and the report shows a 15 percent increase in kWhs produced by natural gas from 1998 to 1999. Unfortunately, coal still dominates electricity production in this country, by a nearly four-to-one margin over natural gas. The figure of 1.3 pounds per kWh was used because power is pumped onto a grid from all of these sources and is often shared out across a wide region.

Fight the Good Fight

Thank you for Susan McGrath's splendid update on one of the world's most precious environments ["Galapagos Now," March-April]. Shortly after McGrath left, we began the first-ever joint conservation patrol of the reserve allowed by a foreign-registered vessel. Since the Jessica oil spill, we have been transmitting news out of the Galapagos without official filters (see and can confirm that Ecuador's troubles include widespread government corruption and lax enforcement of conservation laws. Nevertheless, I am happy to report that someone is starting to push back.

Andrew Christie
Sea Shepherd International
Friday Harbor, WA

Salute to the Archdruid

Thank you for the tribute to David Brower [Field Notes, January-February]. Your piece captured many sides of Dave, [except] his continued and unwavering support of youth. As a part of his legacy, Earth Island Institute (founded by Dave) has established the Brower Youth Awards, which annually offer a $3,000 prize to each of six youth who demonstrate outstanding leadership in "Global CPR": Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration. Readers can learn more at

Lisa Wallace
Earth Island Institute
San Francisco, CA


© 2001  NASI

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