Eagle Catcher Legend

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Bald eagle feathers are considered sacred by Native Americans and used for many spiritual and ceremonial purposes. Because of this the bald eagle has been protected by all of the Indian nations. The skill of obtaining the eagle feather without harming the eagle was left to the talents of the eagle catcher. In performing his duty he took on great risks—the claws and beak could easily rip open a man’s flesh and the powerful wings could break bones.

For days, the eagle catcher would brave the elements hidden in a pit below ground with a cover camouflaged by a canopy of natural materials. He would hold a rabbit through a small opening in the canopy’s center as bait.

When the eagle finally attacked, the eagle catcher would seize the moment by grabbing the eagle by its legs—not harming the eagle and avoiding serious damage to himself. After the needed feathers were removed, the eagle was safely released.
This phenomenal event was captured by sculptor, Paul Albrecht and advising artist, Melvin Losh in a stunning piece displayed to the public on August, 2009 in Walker, MN. It is over 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide and carved from a single piece of black walnut—no seams! Of significant importance to the event unveiling the eagle catcher was that it represented one of the few cultural exchanges of its kind between the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the white residents of the community. All present witnessed a new level of cooperation and mutual support.