FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – A wooden box carried an eagle feather and bone whistle, a gourd rattle and a feather fan — items that carry spiritual energy and are used in Native American religious ceremonies.
The man holding the box asked security agents at the San Antonio International Airport to allow him to display the items so their energy wouldn't be polluted. The agents declined, roughly handling the items and shoving them back in the box, according to Sandor Iron Rope, former president of the Native American Church of North America.
His lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration was settled last month, with neither side acknowledging fault and the agency agreeing to better educate its employees about Native American religious items at more than a dozen airports nationwide.
"There was a policy in place designed to provide some protection for us, but they don't have training," Iron Rope said Wednesday. "Not everybody is familiar with the policies."
The TSA did not respond to messages seeking comment this week. <full story>