GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – A 21-year-old Manistee man has been sentenced to probation, community service and a $2,500 fine for illegally selling eagle feathers.

Timothy Clinton-Paul Oleniczak was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Grand Rapids.

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Oleniczak apologized in court, saying he regrets what he did. He said the feathers are “part of my culture.”

Defense lawyer Ray Kent says Oleniczak is part American Indian. Kent said his client sold feathers given to him over the years because he was desperate for money with the birth of a daughter imminent.

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Authorities said the feathers were sold to undercover officials with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, which worked with federal authorities on the case.

Oleniczak isn’t a member of the tribe.

The tribe, in a statement, said “Eagle feathers are sacred to Native Americans and are protected by the warriors of the tribe. In Anishinaabek and many Native American cultures, the Migizi (eagle) is revered as the messenger that carries our prayers to the Creator and provides the link to our Creator with the miigwans (feathers) used in ceremony or to honor someone for their service.”

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