Contributed by: Brian Quirk, Flaming Arrow
Timucuan Longhouse Sachem
FLRAL State Chief
NSD Board of Elders
New Tribe Chiefs ask me all the time, “What can I do to add excitement to our tribal meetings?” I respond to them the same way I do to New Tribe Sponsors as well. Schedule a quick meeting with the Big Braves only and explain to them the Great Eagle Feather Award Program.
I realize that the number of patches on the older member’s vests can be intimidating to a first year tribe. The Eagle Feather Award program is a great way to begin to adorn your vest. The program has been established to provide new tribes a way to organize 17 separate joint activities that upon completion, a different “feather” is awarded to the Big Brave and child.
Some examples: A feather can be earned when the brave or princess can recite all of their tribemates Native names. Another can be earned when a piece of tribal property has been completed (tribal drum, tribal banner, tribal totem). To aid in recruitment, a feather can be earned by having a new member register for the program. To encourage participation, a feather can be earned when the brave or princess has attended three Nation events. When a Big Brave serves as a tribal officer, their child earns a specific feather for that. Giving back to our local community is a tribal virtue and when you participate in any form of Community Service, there is a specific feather for that as well.
As you can see, multiple activities count towards earning each of the 17 feathers awarded in the program. This program is an excellent way to organize planned outings, meetings, craft building and overall bonding within the tribe. There are no rules as to the sequencing of earning the feathers so pick a feather, energize the tribe and make a big deal about earning each of them.
Once the tribe members have earned all the feathers, we alert the Nation Chief and he presents the ceremonial Eagle Feather patch at the Spring Longhouse in front of the entire Nation. Only ones acting skills limit the theatrics of this very special recognition of our children.
To order the Eagle Feather Patch program, you can contact The Patch Store at www.thepatchstore.com or at 800-537-2824.