Ruth and I had the pleasure of driving to Fairbanks this past weekend to take a rehabilitated bald eagle to the 2008 Midnight Sun Intertribal Pow Wow for a ceremonial release. The Pow Wow was started back in 2000 to educate the general public about the heritage of the indigenous people of North America, to share and to celebrate the similarities and diversities, and to honor their elders and their children. Bird TLC has participated by bringing an eagle to most of the Pow Wow's.
The weather cooperated for most of the day and the temperature was in the low 60's. Our eagle was placed in this lodge in the release box until ready for release about 2 hours later. They placed a guard for security.
Prior to the release there we many tribal and intertribal dances. Everyone was able to participate and show their regalia and their pride. There were dancers of all ages.
Native veterans were out in force and they were shown honor and respect from all who attended. I didn't know this, but there are more Native American veterans than any other minority.
As we got closer to the release time, the eagle and the release box were blessed. An honor guard of veterans were used to move the eagle to the release site. Elders and council members surrounded the box and one more blessing was given.
We knew we were going to have a good release when we picked this eagle to take with us. It flew well in the flight center and it was very aggressive. It didn't let us down. When they opened the box the eagle came out, flew low through the releasers and then over the crowd. It crossed the Chena River and landed on top a spruce tree where it could over look the Pow Wow.
After the release ceremony, Ruth and I were called into the ceremonial circle where we were presented a Certificate of Appreciation for Bird TLC. Since we didn't take a donation box, they decided to perform a blanket dance to take up a collection from the crowd. The crowd was extremely generous.
I would like to thank the Midnight Sun Intertribal Pow Wow Council for having us and treating us to excellent hospitality. I would also like to thank the Master of Ceremonies, Robert W. Gilcrease (Bob) and Benno Cleveland for having the blanket dance performed. And last but not least, thanks to all of the members and attendees. It was a special day for us.