"The Eagle Feather"

January 31st, 2013, 10am

Eagle feathers are often seen on tribal logos and are a symbol of Indigenous people of North America. One of the highest honors a native person can receive is an eagle feather. If a person is given an eagle feather, the receiver is being acknowledged with gratitude, ultimate respect and love. The eagle feather is so sacred that it must be kept in a safe place within the home and not placed in dresser drawers or cupboards. The holder must keep drugs or alcohol away from the eagle feather and if it should fall to the ground, it must be cleansed immediately. Is is believed that the eagle has a special connection with the creator and its feathers represent honesty, courage, strength, truth, wisdom, and freedom (2).

At one time, eagle feathers could only be awarded to braves, warriors, and chiefs for extreme bravery and where earned one at a time. They were so highly valued that the tail of an eagle equaled one pony. Many would rather lose their tepee or horse instead of giving up their eagle feather. A few chiefs won enough eagle feathers to make a double-tailed bonnet. Knowing this, a chief’s eagle feather bonnet in even more impressive. I can only imagine the extreme feats of bravery one must go through to receive such an honor (1).

I think by doing this short piece of writing I have gained further knowledge into the Aboriginal culture and greater understanding of its people.

This picture is a picture I took at our local small town museum. This day I had taken a student to visit some of textile art that is kept in the archives and is only available by request. I truly feel honored to have seen so many beautiful traditional garments.


(1) “Indian Feathers.” and their Importance in Ceremonies. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. http://www.indians.org/articles/indian-feathers.html.

(2) “American Eagle Foundation | American Indian.” American Eagle Foundation | American Indian. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. http://www.eagles.org/programs/eagle-facts/american-indian.php.

Joanne, David Wade, Mark and Kelly said thanks.

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Lisa Skulmoski

Married to my wonderful husband of 14 years, mother of 2 young children. Working during the day as an Educational Assistant, going to University during the evening and a Girl Guide Sparks Leader on Wednesday nights. Not much time for much else.

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