Eagle Feather AwardRecognizing Outstanding Contributions to the field of Shamanism
Anyone practicing shamanism at any level owes a tremendous debt to the rare, true shamans who serve their communities by healing the sick, providing leadership, protection, teaching, and spiritual guidance. All of us owe a debt to the shamans who have carried ancient teachings forward and who have, many times, rescued and preserved ancient lineages from extinction. The Eagle Feather Award is Society for Shamanic Practice’s small way of expressing gratitude and support to the world’s shamans. The recipient receives a $5,000, no restrictions award.
SSP’s Eagle Feather Award honors an individual or group anywhere in the world who has made significant contributions to the field of shamanism. It aids and supports skilled practitioners of the shamanic path who are engaged in important service projects and who have ongoing responsibilities to their communities, and to the web of all life. Great news: in 2021, SSP is able to give two Eagle Feather Awards instead of only one!
More than anyone else, the shamans understand, and work deeply with, the life-sustaining connection between human beings, the natural world, and the spiritual realm. They show all of us the way to repairing the rift between ourselves and the web of life, and they teach us how to be in right relationship with life and with one another.
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.
Your contributions to this cause can help support the further funding of awards similar to the Eagle Feather Award. Consider making a donation to support the continued growth of shamanism within communities around the world.
The EFA Selection Process
Each year the Society for Shamanic Practice honors an individual and/or group who has made a significant and wide-reaching contribution to the sharing of shamanic and indigenous wisdom throughout the world. We are interested in all forms of sharing this knowledge including writing, visual arts, music, student programs, etc. The recipient(s) will receive a one-time gift of $5,000, as well as be featured on the SSP website.
You may nominate anyone other than yourself or a family member. The nominee does not need to be a member of SSP and we invite you to make more than one nomination. We are unable to accept nominations of current or past board members of the Society for Shamanic Practice.
We are especially interested in those whose work is innovative and deeply inspiring with a broad reach. Nominees must have a website that clearly explains their work and vision. This is not a voting process and multiple nominations do not improve the nominee’s chance of receiving the award. All information provided will be kept private and used only for the purposes of selecting this award. Nominees and nominators may be contacted by SSP for additional information and verification. Nominees must be available for an in-person interview if selected for the award.
The nomination period for the 2021 awards will open in the summer.
Support for this Program
Without generous financial support we could not offer this award and the continuation to do so. We wish to profusely thank our Sponsors ($5,000+): Sandra Hobson of the Hobson Foundation (program founder) for the ongoing support of this program; Addison Fischer for his generous contribution of the 2019 award and beyond, and our Supporters ($1000-$4,999): Tom Cowan, The Power Path School of Shamanism and Jaime Meyer. Click here to make a contribution.
Ongoing Thank You to EFA Recipients
In 2016, Society for Shamanic Practice began honoring outstanding members of the shamanic community with the Eagle Feather Award, a $5,000 unrestricted award recognizing an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the field of shamanism. The award aides and supports skilled practitioners of the shamanic path who are engaged in important service projects and who have ongoing responsibilities to their communities, and to the web of life. Our continued thank you goes out to the following recipients.
Ohki Forest | 2020
Thank you for contributing your wisdom to the field of shamanism!
Of Canadian Mohawk descent, Ohki is a vision-holder & spiritual teacher who has lived in Chiapas, Mexico since 1985 where she collaborates with indigenous Mayas through her organization, Red Wind Councils.
When Ohki was a small baby, a thunder-fireball fell on a centenary oak & her house. This was the first of a series of unparalleled signs that took her to meet shaman-teachers who shared with her that she had been chosen by the great Powers to learn ancient Medicine ways.
Initiated into the Wolf Clan of the Iroquois Long House in 1980, Ohki’s illuminating vision is the return of Council Ways through which all people can reclaim & renew the natural dignity, balance & justice that is the true dreaming of the Earth. Since 1985, Ohki has built & sustained 3 Medicine centers in Mexico & the U.S. dedicated to the renewal of indigenous spirituality & ancient Native teachings.
Trained & initiated by Maya, Canadian & Mongolian shamans, she has taught Shamanic Earth Ways, Women’s Medicine practices & Spiritual Warrior/ess training for over 30 years in North America & Mexico.
“As a warrioress of life & death I am, & will always be, in constant spiritual resistance against ignorance, humbly striving to bring back the great laws of Earth.” -Ohki Forest
Gogo Ekhaya Esima | 2019
The 2019 recipient of the Eagle Feather Award was Gogo Ekhaya Esima. Gogo Ekhaya Esima is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist in the mental health field, a trauma survivor, a Spiritual Coach, and initiated healer in the South African Sangoma tradition. She is trained in Trauma Informed Practices and blends these techniques with shamanic healing for a wholistic approach to mental wellness. As a trauma survivor, her personal struggles led her to traditional methods of healing. Sangomas are well known and highly regarded in South Africa as professional healing practitioners. Over 60% of the population still consult with Sangoma medicine people for physical, psychological, and spiritual healing. Sangomas use a form of spiritual mediumship by communicating with the ancestors to give messages and heal.
You can learn more about Gogo’s work through her links below, and by reading our award interview with her.
Mona Polacca | 2018
After sifting through many highly-qualified nominations, The Society for Shamanic Practice awarded the 2018 Eagle Feather Award to Mona Polacca of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers – a group of spiritual elders, medicine women and wisdom keepers founded in 2004.
Mona Polacca is a Native American spiritual elder from Arizona. She has worked to further social justice for indigenous people from an early age. She is an author in the field of social sciences, has held posts of responsibility as Treasurer for her tribe, served on several committees for Indigenous Peoples within the United Nations and is widely known for her leadership in the Native American revitalization movement.
Bhola Banstola | 2017
The 2017 winner of the Eagle Feather Award was 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. Read our full award interview with Bhola here.
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 presented 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!