HOW THE FEMALE EAGLE CHOOSES HER MATE
(As told by the Wintu Tribal Elders of California)
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.