Eagle Feather Award
2018 Winner | Mona Polacca
After sifting through many highly-qualified nominations, The Society for Shamanic Practice is honored to announce this year’s winner of the Eagle Feather Award: Mona Polacca with The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.
The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers represent a diverse mixture of women of prayer. Each Grandmother, a leader in her community, having devoted their long lifetimes to prayer and action.
Mona, a Hopi/Havasupai/Twea elder, has a Master of Social Work degree and has recently been chosen as a member of the World Council of Religious and Spiritual Leaders due to her international justice work. She has worked on issues of Indigenous Peoples especially related to the Right to Water, social and health issues, including the elderly native peoples.
Mona serves on several United Nations committees on indigenous people’s issues and is a featured author, speaker , and educator on indigenous people’s human rights, aging, mental health, addiction and violence. She is also the President/CEO and faculty of the Turtle Island Project, a non-profit program that promotes a vision of wellness by providing trans-cultural training to individuals, families and healthcare professionals.
About the Award
In 2016 The Society for Shamanic Practice began honoring outstanding members of the shamanic community with the Eagle Feather Award, a $5,000 award recognizing an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the field of shamanism. Each year a new recipient receives this award thanks to a generous multi-year gift from Sandra Hobson.
The eagle is revered across many cultures as a powerful embodiment of Spirit and emissary of wisdom. Whether soaring over the plains and coasts of the Americas, the craggy hills of Celtic lands, the fjords of Scandinavia, or the forests of Central Asia, the Eagle is central to shamanic peoples’ stories and beliefs. The eagle inspires in us the courage to see and shed our lowest fears and desires. It reminds us of Spirit’s fierce grace and limitless blessing. The eagle calls us into (or back into) connection with Creation, Creator and one another.
Bhola Banstola | 2017
We are honored to announce that the 2017 winner of the Eagle Feather Award is Bhola Banstola, a 27th generation medicine person from Nepal. For many years, Bhola has taught extensively throughout the world. Recently he has turned attention toward making ethnographic and shamanic healing documentaries to preserve his traditional ways and to educate those who are interested.
Nepal has been rocked recently by disastrous earthquakes and, very recently, floods. Bhola is actively engaged in helping his nature-affected brothers and sisters as best he can. SSP is delighted to support Bhola’s work and vision, and by extension the people of Nepal, at this time.
You can learn more about Bhola Banstola in this video interview.
Two quotes from Bhola
“I believe that the shamanic path is the most democratic path. Anyone can practice this way and take this practice a way of living life. One should be very sincere, one should take it as a daily practice with great discipline. It helps us to be always connected with the spirits of nature and with yourself too.”
“If you want to be a shaman, having a human teacher as a guide is a must, as human teachers show you the best way to explore and work with the spiritual worlds; and they can teach you how to perform healing rites and rituals as well.”
Joseph Rael | 2016
We were honored to present the 2016 Eagle Feather Award to Joseph Rael (“Beautiful Painted Arrow”), an eighty-two year old author, healer, mystic, and teacher who travels the world establishing his uniquely beautiful “sound and peace temples.” When he is not traveling and teaching, Joseph makes his home in Colorado on the Ute Reservation. He is of both Ute and Picuris descent and belongs to both tribes. Learn more about Joseph and his work here.
SSP Board members Lena and Jose Stevens traveled to Southern Colorado to present the award to Joseph in a short and lovely ceremony. At that time they recorded an interview with him containing nearly an hour’s worth of wisdom and humor. Congratulations, Joseph Rael, and thank you!