Illinois: The First State to Formally Recognize the Eagle Staff

Schaumburg Trickster Art Gallery and State Representative Mussman team up!

Each year, American Indian Veterans and other members of the branches of the US Military come together at the National Gathering of American Indian Veterans at Cantigny Park in Wheaton IL and speak about matters important to all of us. One of the most important, among many special projects based on the voices of our Native Veterans, was formal recognition of our Eagle Staffs in the United States. On May 17, 2017 the State of Illinois lead by State Representative Mussman approved and signed this resolution and implemented it into policy. The state of Illinois has made history this way with its formal recognition of the Eagle Staff; this resolution is the first of its kind to be passed, and our hope is that we will be just the first in many states to recognize these staffs.

This project, by Schaumburg’s Trickster Art Gallery over the last few years since our National Gathering in 2015, is the result of the partnership of Tribes and off reservation people working together. The Pokagon Tribal Veterans with representative (Anthony Foerster), Dan King (NCAI Oneida), Pala Tribe of CA join this effort. The Pokagon Tribe, whose tribal lands were in the Illinois/Chicago land area as well as Trickster Art Gallery of Schaumburg IL (CEO Joe Podlasek), and with the support of the Native Veterans of Illinois, worked hard on behalf of our people and our veterans across the country. Our goal now is to have 30 plus states pass this or similar resolutions, and then move it on to Congress in a strategic planned process with our Tribal Veteran groups. You can view and read the resolution in its entirety here.

A Call to Action

One goal has been reached, but there is still a long way to go. By the end of 2017, our goal is to have 30 different resolutions in other states pending and ready to be voted on, and eventually get all 50 states to recognize this staff. If you would like to get the Eagle Staff recognized in your state but are not sure how to proceed, we encourage you to contact our CEO Joe Podlasek at his email joep@trickstergallery.com for advice. Together we can make this a nationwide effort!

What is an Eagle Staff?

The Eagle Staff was the first flags of these lands; long before the colonists came, Native American tribes were carrying Eagle Staffs to represent their tribes, individual families, and various other groups. Eagle Staffs can come in many shapes and sizes, but they always feature at least one eagle feather along with their other adornments. These staffs are usually cared for and carried by a veteran, as carrying a staff is seen as a great honor.