Medium: Bronze/ leather
Title Gift of Bravery
Size: 14.5 x 2.5”
Historically Natives Americans were awarded eagle feathers by their tribes as a token of respect and bravery. When a member gives a great deal of their time or acts with great courage to benefit or defend the tribe, the feather was awarded.
These feathers were highly prized possessions for several reasons. First, they were a reminder of the eagle itself, which had virtuous symbolism. Eagles watch over the earth like a guardian, and in terms of status and physical ability, they were considered to be the highest of all birds. They were a reminder of the supreme being that watches over all creation. In a sense then, the eagle feather was a direct gift from the Creator.
Second, the feather symbolized the gratitude, love, and respect that the tribe felt for the individual. The feather could also indicate a status within the tribe. Those that had many feathers awarded were also revered and their views on tribal affairs might be more deeply considered, because those that had many feathers had proven wisdom and courage throughout their life.
Feathers were always shown on display. If a tribe member was not wearing their feathers then they would hang them in a prominent place. It was considered to be disrespectful to store away feathers for long periods of time. If they were stored, it was usually just because the tribe needed to travel to a new camp. But in most other circumstances, the feathers were meant to be openly seen by all. It was not vanity, but instead it was an expression of gratitude and respect, in return for those that had given the gift of the feathers. In many ways the feathers became the great binding symbols of unity that existed within the tribe, due to the great expressions of gratitude that were felt and openly displayed within the tribe.
In modern times we give gifts that also bind us together, but unfortunately those gifts often fade, get ruined, or go out of style. And unfortunately there are not enough eagle feathers in the world to go around to express the amount of love and gratitude that is needed today. Furthermore, it is very illegal to touch or own a real eagle feather without proper authorization.
Raymond Gibby created the bronze eagle feather, “Gift of bravery” to offer a more permanent option for loved ones of any culture to show gratitude for others as a gift. Or, to show gratitude to the Creator within your own home for the gifts that have blessed your life. The feather should go to someone who has either acted bravely in their life or would like that reminder to act bravely on a daily basis. The “Gift of Bravery” should be put on display and not hidden. A leather strip, tied with a royal square knot, attached to the end of the feather in traditional style, allows one to hang it on a wall. It can also sit on an angle, making a nice display piece for a desk or table. So whenever someone sees the feather on display, they may be reminded of the “Gifts of Bravery” that they have been given or embody.