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  • Eagle Feathers

    Not sure where to put this thread but since my niece dances jingle and that's the example I'm going to use, I'll put it here and hopefully other styles of dancers will give their input.
    How do you feel about little kids carrying eagle feathers???? I was always taught that eagle feathers were something to be blessed with and cared for and only given when you feel they have earned the right to care for them properly. Which is why I would never allow my niece to wear real eagle plumes nor carry a real eagle fan. But, she had a really nice fan and soem nice "legal" plumes that I told her she'd have to use until she could prove to me that she could care for the real thing. A year ago my adopted baby sister gave up dancing, and in so doing, gave my niece all her eagle feathers, including her plumes and her tail fan. Now my niece always demands that I give her the eagle feathers that she was gifted with. (I keep them for all the women in my family) I just feel like she doesn't have the proper respect for them that she should have. I've tried to talk to her about it, but since the feathers were a gift, I really don't feel like I have any say so over them. Any thoughts, advice, how do others feel about kids and feathers?

  • #2
    Eagle Feathers

    My basic teaching came from Michigan and I would have to agree that until the child is old enough to resect the feather, the bird, and its whole reason for exsistance that they should not have it. Living in Texas and attending pow wow in Louisianna they are much more relaxed but if we want our young children to carry the traditions the true Native beliefs then we must insist on teaching them the ways of our elders. But this is just my point of view.
    Spiritdream

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    • #3
      Stick to your guns; don't make deals with children, you will know when she becomes a little lady and can appropriately carry those feathers.

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      • #4
        Eaglefeathers

        I too believe that little girls or boys should not wear eagle feathers until they learn the respect and care of them. At what age do you think they should be allowed? I thought that a girl was not allowed until after her first moon could she be gifted a eagle feather? How can we learn if we don't ask questions

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        • #5
          Originally posted by WocusWoman
          Stick to your guns; don't make deals with children, you will know when she becomes a little lady and can appropriately carry those feathers.

          OMG you sound like my mom! I agree wholeheartedly.
          SHAKE IT!!!!

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          • #6
            I think that you are right in your decision to not let your daughter use those feathers untill she knows the meaning children don't allways have the ability to comprehend what those feathers mean. by denying her those feathers now, I think that you are teaching her a valuble lession in how these importiant and sacred these feathers are to us and in learning it this way I think that she will be more likely to not forget the significance.
            Niin sa, Chi anung

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            • #7
              My children have been gifted eagle feathers, but they too are not ready for the responsibility.
              My oldest daughter is 10, she got a Feather box when she had her berry fast. the younger childrens feathers i keep. In the morning when we smudge, I allow them to take out their feathers (younger ones with my assistance). They smudge thier feathers & learn about them. this way they will one day have learned the teachings & gained the maturity needed to understand the respect their feathers need, without the feathers just sitting in a feather box, unused, which just isn't right either.
              Suzze

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              • #8
                Beautiful way of teaching your children...that makes Auntie smile inside :)

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                • #9
                  I'd have to agree Children must know the proper respect and stories that go along with the eagle feathers. Each child is different. I recieved mine very young and have did not have any problems. My wife however dropped her plume as a young girl while playing around at a powwow. (Note: She JUST was gifted one a few weeks ago) Serious business. Pop Culture(ie Powwows) should not make us "will and deal" with culture. I was very glad to see many people still feel the same way.

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                  • #10
                    I think you guys underestimate kids. They know and understand a lot more than you give them credit for.

                    I always get such a kick reading about "restrictions" put on things...people, there are well over 500 tribal nations out there and each is different...heck, things even vary from community to community and district to district within those nations so its just so hilarious when anyone says something like "I thought only so and so were allowed" Jeez...

                    Teach your kids well and they'll respond well.
                    I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

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                    • #11
                      According to what's being said about knowing all the reasons, whys and wherefors of the eagle and feather significance .... I know of a lot of adults that need to be givin theirs back.
                      "We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume

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                      • #12
                        My middle daughter was pretty young, about 7, when she received her first eagle feather. It was a big deal and of course we taught her how to care for it and have respect for it. I didn't see any problem in her dancing with it since I was the one that put it in her hair for her and took it out as well.

                        But yeah, it depends on the kid.
                        ...it is what it is...

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                        • #13
                          My kids....

                          My almost 10yo son is a No. Tradish dancer. His bustle is of Red Tail Hawk, he has two bald eagle feathers on his roach (given to him by one of his grandfathers)...his visor is of red tail hawk and his fan is a left wing from an eagle that was gifted to my husband for the birth of our third child. He carries them and cares for them with pride and dignity.

                          My 7yo daughter has an eagle fluff for her hair and has a three feather fan of eagle feathers that one of her grandfather's gifted her with. she also knows how to carry and care for them.

                          My daughter even collects feathers of all different birds and cares for them.

                          Our kids are born sacred and are the most 'sacred' gifts we could have. They are born with that knowledge and it is up to us to remind them of this and teach them of respect.

                          Every tribal nation is different with this and also every family. So i don't judge a child "as a no no" on those items...because I don't know what the significance of them carrying it. I just treat it with respect like how I was taught.
                          ~*~If you get mad, you just have to get glad again~*~ No sense in wasting your time with anger~*~

                          >!< KIMIMILA>!<

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                          • #14
                            I was 8 when I got my feather placed on me by one of my grandfathers that fought on foreign soil. I could tell it was a big deal because it was in front of a lot of people and we had a give away. I was able to take care of that feather and still have it. My daughter was asking about a feather, she's 4 and I told her that she needs to be older, I was 8 so she has to wait until she can take care of her own feather. We'll see....

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                            • #15
                              I think it depends on the child. How responsible they are, how aware they are. Maturity, resposibility are things you can't put an age on. Some kids are born careful, some are born ready to roll in the mud.

                              I know with my oldest daughter I told her I will let her wear her eagle feather when she shows me she can be responsible by taking care with her regalia, such as folding it nicely to put it away etc.

                              Suzze

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