This beautiful one-piece sculpture by Raymond Chee, Sr depicts the story of the Living Feather.
About two hundred years ago, there was a tribe of Native Americans who needed a new leader and someone who could negotiate with Washington DC over their lands. Four young warriors came to the call of the Medicine Man. He listened to each of the four young warriors as they presented their plan for leading the tribe forward. The Medicine Man said, “I’ve listened to you all, and you all have good thoughts, but only one of you can lead the tribe.”
He presented a challenge to the four young warriors. The next day, they would go out and the first one to bring back a feather from a live eagle would earn the right to become the next Chief and spokesman of the tribe.
The young warrior depicted in this sculpture got up early the next morning. At the base of the cliffs where the eagles were known to live, he caught a jack rabbit using a snare. He secured a leather thong from a branch of a tree to the rabbit’s leg. He then released the rabbit, which squealed to get away. The warrior hid behind the rocks. An eagle flying overhead came down and grabbed the rabbit in its talons. As the eagle tried it pull up in the air, the warrior grabbed the leather thong holding the rabbit, pulling both the rabbit and eagle down. He was able to pull a feather out of the wing of the eagle. He then released the rabbit to the eagle, and it flew off. Thus, he was the first to return to the village with a Living Feather and earned the leadership role he sought.
This carving is all one piece of wood. The only things that Raymond Chee added were the turquoise pendant and the Living Feather in the warrior’s hand. This is a true masterpiece of a great legend.