The Great Eagle Feather Award Program

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.

How To Earn Each Feather

Feather How to earn
Green/Black Tip Parent filling role of a tribal officer
Red/Black Tip Parent and child able to recite the names of all tribe members
Yellow/Black Tip Recite pledge, aims, and slogan to your Tribe Chief
Yellow/Red Tip Participate in a tribe skit (girls) or critter race (boys) at a longhouse
Green/Natural Tip Participate in a tribe service project
Natural/Red Tip Work on two of the following tribal property items:
Talking Stick, Drum, Property Chest, Totem, Coup Stick, Banner
Natural/Blue Tip Attend eight consecutive tribe meetings
Natural/Brown Tip Complete 6 of 7 solid color feathers
Yellow/Black Stripe Do three craft projects at home, and display them for your tribe
Natural/Red Stripe Night off for Big Tau: plan, cook, and clean-up a special dinner for Mom
Green/Black Stripe Do a two mile hike, and report what you found to your tribe
Natural/Blue Stripe Overnight camping trip (not a longhouse), cooking food over a fire together
Natural/Brown Stripe Make one of the following regalia items:
Moccasins, Bead design, Peacepipe, Tomahawk
Natural/Black Stripe Attend church four weeks in a row
Blue/Black Stripe Visit a zoo, museum, concert, play, or parade together, and report to tribe
Red/Black Stripe Go on a camera hike, and show the pictures to your tribe
Eagle Feather Complete 13 of 15 solid and striped feathers