Robert Soto, a Native American dancer who pastors the Grace Brethren Church in McAllen, Tex., has been involved in a protracted legal situation after federal agents came to a pow wow on March 11, 2006 and confiscated 42 eagle feathers there were being used in ceremonies. In part, the case centers on the fact that the tribe of which Robert is a part, the Lipan Apache, is not a federally recognized tribe.
In February 2013, the case was denied in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas at McAllen. Lawyers in the case appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 8. (Click here to read a report from that hearing.)
Today, on Facebook, Robert announced that the case has been won. See his note below for more information.
I want to announce to you that we have won our Eagle Feather lawsuit, McAllen Grace Brethren Church, et al v. U.S. Attorney General USDC No. 7:07-CV-60, against the Department of Interior in THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT. I’m not sure what all this means except for now, WE HAVE WON! I will be talking to my lawyers on Saturday when they come to speak to us at our Native church service and will write more later as more information is given. We do have to appear one more time in the lower district court to sort of finalize the decision. Continue to pray for us. For now, I would like to thank three individuals. First and foremost, I thank my Lord and my Savior Jesus for His helping hand in our lives. Secondly, I would like to thank our lawyers, Milo Colton of the Cherokee Nation and Marisa Salazar of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas for their endless and tireless continual work these last seven and a half years. Then, thank you to my wife, our family and friends who have stood with us through this whole ordeal. As I stated earlier, I will write more later as more information becomes available. So as it stands, we have won this part of the battle. Keep the next episode of this lawsuit in prayer as we return to the lower district court for the finalizing of the decision.