Southeast CFS Children in Care Eagle Staff
Tuesday, July, 18th, 2017
This is an eagle staff. Eagle staffs are carried in grand entries at pow-wows and other Anishinaabe events. They have been used to represent our Nations, our Communities and our Families. More recently they have been used to represent agencies (e.g. Winnipeg organization Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc.), government agencies (e.g. the RCMP and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission) and educational institutions (e.g. Red River College).
This particular eagle staff came about after the elders interpreted dreams of members of the cultural team who have been working with our youth. They determined that the ancestors wanted a way to recognize the Children in Care as their own group and the eagle staff would be that means. To be clear, this is not the agency’s eagle staff but it belongs to the Children in Care of our agency – past, present and future.
It also serves to remind us, as staff with the agency, that our work is to stand in place for their family and not standing in place of their family. This is an important distinction as culturally, the Anishinaabe always practiced standing in place for, this allowed for family to deal with whatever they needed to at the time. For instance if the father was away hunting to provide for his family and community, other adult males of the family and community would stand in place for the father providing a male influence for the children in their father’s absence.
Traditionally, eagle staffs were carried by the warriors of the community. Fittingly, it will be the youth within our agency who will carry this staff when it has been called for, as our youth of today face many battles on an ongoing basis such as sexual exploitation, gangs, addictions. It a blessing when an eagle staff is brought to an event. The elders also wanted us to know that this is a beautiful blessing for those who work for the agency.
There are eight symbols on the eagle staff, one representing each of the Southeast First Nations. The symbol came from the flags and letterheads of each community. Starting from the top of the right hand side;
- The Pipe represents Poplar River
- The Warrior Head represents Bloodvein
- The Bear represents Pauingassi
- The Shield represents Brokenhead
And from the top on the left hand side;
- The Eagle represents Hollow Water
- The Moose represents Little Grand Rapids
- The Beaver represents Berens River
- And the Thunder Bird represents Little Black River