CFB Borden receives the Eagle Staff

Eagle Staff ceremony at CFB Borden
The Eagle Staff symbolizes bravery, integrity and honour, and was created by members of the local Indigenous community and 3 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (3 CPRG). Photo: DND/CAF

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By Emily Brown, Borden Citizen

Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden received the Eagle Staff, a sacred Indigenous symbol, for the first time on August 10.

The Eagle Staff symbolizes bravery, integrity and honour, and was created by members of the local Indigenous community and 3 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (3 CPRG). It recognizes Indigenous members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

“The Eagle Staff will help to ensure that the sacrifices of Indigenous soldiers who lived and trained here at CFB Borden over the past 100 years will never be forgotten, and will represent the rich history, and promising future of CFB Borden’s Indigenous Peoples,” Base Commander, Colonel Atherton commented.

The ceremony began with a traditional smudging ceremony, followed by passing an eagle feather to each individual to ensure everyone in attendance had an opportunity to express their feelings about what the passing of the Staff meant to them.

Mr. Bill Jamieson, the CFB Borden Elder, took the opportunity to reflect on the Eagle Staff and its meaning to the CAF, “The Eagle Staff represents nations and its people, governments, armies and battle honours, thus, it is an honoured and sacred symbol.”

Just like the flags representing nations around the world, no two eagle staffs are the same. All aspects of an eagle staff are composed of items from nature such as the trees, animals and birds. The difference is in the way they are decorated and dressed to specifically relate to the region it represents. Even though eagle staffs may vary from each other in the way they are decorated, all will have one or two, perhaps several eagle feathers. The feathers are sewn or tied onto the soft leather that covers most of the staff. The actual staff is made from wood, the tree type varies; it is usually four to seven feet in length. The staff may have colorful beaded designs on it, such as animals or birds. The staff is then adorned with feathers, crests and decorations representing the regions they are intended for.

Concluding the ceremony, the Eagle Staff was the handed over to the Base Commander, a symbolic moment to which he stated, “It is with a great sense of respect, pride and duty that I make this solemn oath that I will uphold the tradition of this sacred symbol, and look upon it always with strong mind and a positive spirit.”

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