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 Stories of the Eagle Feather

The eagle feather is a symbol of courage, strength and discipline. The following is a collection of articles designed to provide you with a deeper understanding of the importance of this sacred symbol.

When you wear eagle feathers, wear them with pride.

The legend of the eagle feather

Native American legend says when a great warrior falls an eagle feather falls to earth.

The Eagle Feather

by Randy Macey, Mohawk

When the world was new, the Creator made all the birds. He colored their feathers like a bouquet of flowers. The Creator then gave each a distinct song to sing. The Creator instructed the birds to greet each new day with a chorus of their songs. Of all the birds, our Creator chose the Eagle to be the leader. The Eagle flies the highest and sees the furthest of all creatures. The Eagle is a messenger to the Creator. During the Four Sacred Rituals we will wear an Eagle Feather in our hair. To wear or to hold the Eagle Feather causes our Creator to take immediate notice. With the Eagle Feather the Creator is honored in the highest.


When one receives an Eagle Feather that person is being acknowledged with gratitude, with love, and with ultimate respect. That feather must have sacred tobacco burnt for it. In this way the Eagle and the Creator are notified of the name of the new Eagle Feather Holder. The holder of the Eagle Feather must ensure that anything that changes the natural state of ones mind (Alcohol and Drugs) must never come in contact with the sacred Eagle Feather. The keeper of the feather will make a little home where the feather will be kept. The Eagle feather must be fed. You feed the Eagle Feather by holding or wearing the feather at sacred ceremonies. By doing this the Eagle Feather is recharged with sacred energy. Never abuse, never disrespect, and never contaminate your Eagle Feather. The Mohawk man will have three Eagle Feathers standing straight up on his Kahstowa (feather hat).

by Erik Phelps

When the earth was created, a great thundercloud appeared on the horizon. Flashing lightning and thundering its call, it descended toward the treetops. As the mists cleared, there was an eagle perched on the highest branches. He took flight and flew slowly down to the ground. As he approached the earth, he put forward his foot, and as he stepped upon the ground, he became a man.


For this reason we recognize the eagle as a messenger of the creator, and rely upon him to carry word of our actions to God. When the eagle comes to where we are working, we know that God cares about us and is watching over us.

by D'Arcy Rheault

Elder Michael Thrasher once told me that the eagle feather has two sides. If the feather had only one side then Eagle could not fly. On one side we find mind/intellect, body/movement and spirit/emotion. Once these are balanced a person is balanced. On the other side there is institution, education (and not just Western style education), process (the movement on one's path) and ceremony. Once these are balanced then a person's life is balanced. When the two sides of the feather are balanced then we have proper behavior. Funny thing is.......Eagle doesn't care if its feathers have two sides....It just opens its wings and flies up to Creator.

SYMBOLISM OF THE EAGLE FEATHER

A Lumbee Story

In the beginning, the Great Spirit above gave to the animals and birds wisdom and knowledge and the power to talk to men. He sent these creatures to tell man that he showed himself through them. They would teach a chosen man sacred songs and dance, as well as, much ritual and lore.

The creature most loved by the Great Spirit was the eagle, for he tells the story of life. The Eagle, as you know, has only two eggs, and all living things in the world are divided into two. Here is man and woman, male and female and this is true with animals, birds, trees, flowers and so on. All things have children of two kinds so that life may continue. Man has two eyes, two hands, two feet and he has a body and soul, substance and shadow.

Through his eyes, he sees pleasant and unpleasant scenes, through his nostrils he smells good and bad odors, and with his ears he hears joyful news and words that make him sad. His mind is divided between good and evil. His right hand he may often use for evil, such as war or striking a person in anger. But his left hand, which is near his heart, is always full of kindness. His right foot may lead him in the wrong path, but his left foot always leads him the right way, and so it goes; he has daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death.

In order to remember this lesson of life, look to the great eagle, the favorite bird of the Great Spirit. The eagle feather is divided into two parts, part light and part dark. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death. So that you may remember what I have told you, look well on the eagle, for his feathers, too, tell the story of life.

Look at the feathers I wear upon my hand, the one on the right is large and perfect and is decorated; this represents man. The one on my left is small and plain; this represents woman. The eagle feather is divided into two parts, dark and white. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter. For the white tells of summer, when all is bright and the dark represents the dark days of winter.

My children remember what I tell you. For it is YOU who will choose the path in life you will follow -- the good way, or the wrong way.

Sharon Locklear, publisher of Metrolina Pow Wow