Friday, November 04, 2011


The post below is from my Chicago cousin Arthur Kelly. A union man like me and a democrat with a clear voice and a clear head. Like me he wonders at the beauty and power of nature and takes comfort and inspiration from ancient Native American philosophy. I share his support for severe penalties against anyone who breaks laws designed to protect wild creatures, I wish we would follow the American example here. Rather than answer his comment personally I want people to read it for themselves as he responds to my post about birds of prey. .

Symbolism of the Eagle Feather A Lumbee Legend In the beginning, the Great Spirit above gave to the animals and birds wisdom and knowledge and the power to talk to men. He sent these creatures to tell man that he showed himself through them. They would teach a chosen man sacred songs and dance, as well as much ritual and lore. The creature most loved by the Great Spirit was the eagle, for he tells the story of life. The Eagle, as you know, has only two eggs, and all living things in the world are divided into two. Here is man and woman, male and female and this is true with animals, birds, trees, flowers and so on. All things have children of two kinds so that life may continue. Man has two eyes, two hands, two feet and he has a body and soul, substance and shadow. Through his eyes, he sees pleasant and unpleasant scenes, through his nostrils he smells good and bad odors, with his ears he hears joyful news and words that make him sad. His mind is divided between good and evil. His right hand he may often use for evil, such as war or striking a person in anger. But his left hand, which is near his heart, is always full of kindness. His right foot may lead him in the wrong path, but his left foot always leads him the right way, and so it goes; he has daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death. In order to remember this lesson of life, look to the great eagle, the favorite bird of the Great Spirit. The eagle feather is divided into two parts, part light, and part dark. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death. So that you may remember what I have told you, look well on the eagle, for his feathers, too, tell the story of life. Look at the feathers I wear upon my hand, the one on the right is large and perfect and is decorated; this represents man. The one on my left is small and plain; this represents woman. The eagle feather is divided into two parts, dark and white. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter. For the white tells of summer, when all is bright and the dark represents the dark days of winter. My children, remember what I tell you. For it is YOU who will choose the path in life you will follow -- the good way, or the wrong way. Eagle feathers are very highly prized among Native Americans and in fact they are the only people allowed to posses an eagle feather and even they must have certification of tribal membership and the appropriate registration license to acquire one legally. And there is the rub... or a mere pale-face such as myself, possession of even one feather brings a fine of $100,000 and a jail sentence. The law: "Anyone who possesses an eagle feather, and doesn't meet the requirements, could face fines up to $100,000 and a year in prison. A second offense is upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony, and carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The act also provides for a civil penalty of up to $5,000." If possible return these creatures or their parts to the wild Take only pictures; leave only footprints indeed... Arthur (Pale Face) Kelly Craigneuk/Chicago

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