Photographs show the humbling moment when the Nanaimo RCMP worked with two local First Nations and the BC Conservation Officers Service to collect eagle feathers as part of a traditional eagle feather harvest.
The feathers were taken from eagles that were found dead in the wild and turned over to the BCCOS and will be used by police to help connect with Indigenous people “who may need the strength and courage that the eagle feather offers,” or to help provide comfort when discussing traumatic incidents.
It included prayers and smudging for each participant, and the eagles were blessed and given traditional offerings of salmon before their feathers were “carefully and respectfully harvested,” according to the Nanaimo RCMP.
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While the feathers were recently harvested, it will still take weeks to months before they are prepared and ready for use.
Once that is complete, the feathers will be used by both police and local First Nations for ceremonies.
Mounties say that the feather harvest was part of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment’s efforts to facilitate reconciliation and communication with local First Nations.
“The Nanaimo RCMP and BC Conservation Service would like to gratefully thank our First Nations dignitaries for attending and leading the ceremony and for the wisdom and culture they were eager to share with all the participants,” said police.
Once the feathers are ready for use, RCMP say they will hold an unveiling ceremony for its new “eagle feather protocol.”