When it comes time for the female Eagle to choose her mate,
she prepares herself for many suitors. And many come before her.
She looks them over quite well and then picks one to fly with for
awhile. If she likes the way he flies she finds a small stick, picks
it up and flies high with it. At some point she will drop the stick
to see if the male can catch it. If he does, then she finds a larger
stick and flies with it much higher this time. Each time the male
catches the sticks, she continues to pick up larger and larger sticks.
When she finds the largest, heaviest stick that she herself can
carry, the stick is at this point almost the size of a small log!
But she can still fly very high with this large stick.
At any time in this process, if the male fails to catch the
stick, she flies away from him as her signal that the test is now
over. She begins her search all over again. And when she again finds
a male she is interested in, she starts testing him in the exact
same way. And she will continue this "testing" until she
finds the male Eagle who can catch all the sticks. And when she
does, she chooses him, and will mate with him for life.
One of the reasons for this test is that at some point they
will build a nest together high up and will then have their Eaglettes.
When the babies begin to learn to fly, they sometimes fall instead.
It is then that the male must catch his young. And he does! The
female Eagle and their Eaglettes have depended on him to be strong
for them. Just as we Native women and children need to depend upon
our Native men. So what I would like to offer to you my friends
is this. Sisters, how well do you "test" your suitors
before you allow them into your life? And my Brothers, how well
have you caught the "sticks" for your women and your children?
Whatever our past has been like, if we need to change, let's
do so now together. Our children are counting on us to make these
good choices for them and for their children.