More About Eagle

The Eagle symbolizes grace, power and great intellect. It is a sacred and noble creature representing power and prestige to the First Nations people of the Northwest Coast. It symbolizes wisdom and has a special and direct connection to the creator. Eagles mate for life and are therefore also seen as a symbol of lasting love and dedication. It is told that the Eagle end their own life in despair when the mate is lost. Eagle feathers are used in the most important ceremonies, a display of respect, courage, Chieftainship and wisdom. The Eagle is the ruler of sky.

A Kwakiutl legend has it that the eagle once had very poor eyesight. Because it could fly to the highest treetops, however; a chief asked the eagle to watch for invading canoes. Anxious to assist, the eagle convinced the slug, which in those days had excellent vision, to trade eyes temporarily. The slug agreed, but when the eagle's sentinel duties were finished, the eagle refused to trade back eyes. Thus, goes the legend, not only is the eagle's sharp vision accounted for, but also the slowness of the slug.

The Eagle also serves as a messenger between humans and the Creator. In some Northwest Coast tribes, the floor used to be dusted with eagle down at potlatches and other ceremonies as a symbol of peace and hospitality. Because eagles are considered such a powerful medicine animal, the hunting or killing of eagles was restricted by many taboos. Eating eagle meat was forbidden in many tribes; in some legends, a person who eats eagle meat is transformed into a monster. 

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