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Gordon Bell gifted eagle staff

Wilfred and Dorothy Swampy of Sagkeeng First Nation gifted Gordon Bell an eagle staff on Feb. 2.

During the presentation, Dorothy said that the eagle staff is a sacred Indigenous symbol that was once carried in war, but now represents “peace, respect and honour.” She said the eagle is especially respected in her Anishinaabe culture as it is seen as “the carrier of our prayers.”

Wilfred, who has been carving for almost 30 years, said it took two to three weeks to create the eagle staff out of ash wood.

The presentation also included a performance by a traditional Indigenous drum circle. One of the drummers was Wilfred and Dorothy’s son Jedediyah Swampy, who teaches traditional drumming to Gordon Bell students.

“It’s our responsibility to keep the fire lit for the little ones,” Jedediyah said. “This is what the eagle staff represents for this school, for Anishinaabe people to be proud of who they are and where they come from and to keep practicing this way of life.”


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