Eagle Feather Cleansing
Joseph V. Sowmick - October 16, 2013
Team Observer joins the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways in celebration of their 12th annual Eagle Feather Cleansing, Honoring and Feast on Oct. 16-18. Ziibiwing Curator William Johnson informs the center has an estimated 500 Eagle feathers in the sacred and ceremonial collection.
"The Eagle feather cleansing, honoring and feast is an educational program created specifically for the purpose of preserving and promoting cultural awareness within the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal membership and is made available to the general public without discrimination," Johnson informs. "The Ziibiwing Center’s Collection Committee, Board of Directors and Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council are committed to sharing our culture with the world."
Many in the Tribal community brought their own personal feathers to be cleansed during this time as well. The Eagle feathers will be honored with a public showing on Thursday, Oct. 17 and Friday Oct. 18 from 1pm to 6pm at Ziibiwing Center.
"The Ziibiwing Center understands and accepts the physical and spiritual responsibility in maintaining the sacred and ceremonial collection," said Johnson. "It is a lot of work that we take seriously. The Eagle feathers in the sacred and ceremonial collection are well cared for and it shows."
Behavioral Health Helping Healer Bea Jackson of the Eagle Clan recounted the creation story and eagle teachings with passion. She brought her own eagle feathers to be cleansed, honored and feasted. "From the earliest time we have an understanding of why the eagle is important to us in our lives. This is told in part by our creation story. The Eagle feathers displayed at the Ziibiwing Center are an example of honoring the life of the Anishinabe people, past and present and an honoring of the life and the spirit of the eagle. This gives blessings and strength to our people."
The Observer photo illustrates an Eagle fan cedar cleansing. "Cedar, often called Giizhik, is a sacred medicine. The oil from this plant protects the feathers from getting too dry and from any insect that might be in the area. The intact Eagle wing is a great healer and works with the energy of the Eagle, the smudging material used and the tobacco offering given by the person requesting the help," Jackson teaches. " Used together, this healing ceremony can bring back the balance of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. Taking good care of your Eagle feathers’ is essential." The Eagle Feather Feast is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 18 from 6 to 8pm at the Ziibiwing Center and is free and open to the public.