The eagle feather can be seen floating weightlessly in space in a photo snapped on the International Space Station by Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress

VIDEO: Eagle feather from B.C. flew to space with Canadian astronaut

Inspirational feather will go on display with mission patch at Sto:lo offices in Chilliwack

An eagle feather from Chilliwack flew all the way to the International Space Station with Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques.

Believed to be the second eagle feather in space, it will be a source of inspiration for all soon from the Sto:lo Service Agency in Chilliwack, now that it has touched back down to Earth.

The story starts with the At Home in Space Program, where some UBC researchers were studying ways to reduce stress on astronauts, and help them adapt to the isolating effects of working on the space station. One of the psychology researchers, Peter Suedfeld, has close familial ties to Michael Suedfeld, who does research and communications for Sto:lo Service Agency (SSA).

“My father offered us the chance to send something of note into space with David Saint-Jacques,” Michael Suedfeld recounted, explaining how the item from Sto:lo territory ended up hurtling through in space.

Suedfeld sought out SSA colleague, Kelowa Edel, Sto:lo Health Director, to come up with a suitable suggestion.

Edel said she glanced over at a bookshelf where she kept an eagle feather.

It was perfect.

“It’s light. It’s significant. It’s our connection to creator,” Edel said, adding that the eagle is known across Turtle Island as the “messenger.”

Edel, who is not Sto:lo but of Ojibway ancestry, said the eagle feather was gifted to her at one point for her work with Sto:lo people.

“We want to really encourage our people,” Edel said. “You really have to reach for the stars. If you really want something, you can reach higher and higher.”

It’s just like the feather’s trajectory to the space station.

“The feather went up, and the feather came back down to earth,” Edel said.

As a keepsake, Saint-Jacques snapped a photo of the two-toned eagle feather floating weightlessly in space against the backdrop of Earth, through the cupola window portal on the space station.

“That was a really nice gesture on the part of Saint-Jacques,” Suedfeld said about the picture.

READ MORE: Saint-Jacques completes spacewalk

Suedfeld said he’d been told by Sto:lo elders, that “when the eagle reaches the moon, true reconciliation can begin,” and his understanding is that this is the first ever eagle feather on the ISS.

So for anyone reading this story, or seeing the small feather, his wish is that they take “hope and inspiration” from it.

And there’s an official certificate of authenticity that came with a note that reads: “It is with great pleasure that we are returning to you this item which flew aboard the International Space Station during David Saint-Jacques’ Mission.”

The feather is set to be mounted in a special frame, and will be eventually on display in Chilliwack, along with the space station mission patch, and space agency certificate, after a small ceremony is held in the new year.

“Space exploration enriches humanity with new perspectives on ourselves and the work,” Saint-Jacques wrote about his mission.

The astronaut was aboard the ISS from Dec. 3, 2018 to June 24, 2019.

“I thank the At Home in Space study team for symbolically taking part in the adventure through this feather that was on board with me.”

READ MORE: David Saint-Jacques announced science winners from space


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The eagle feather that flew to space along with the mission patch from the At Home in Space program. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Sto:lo Nation Health director Kelowa Edel and Michael Suedfeld of Sto:lo Service Agency gingerly holding the first eagle feather ever to make it aboard the International Space Station. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Lock at Keenleyside Dam near Castlegar to open on May 23

The navigational lock will be open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m

Morning start: Rossland is named after this person

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 22

Castlegar green spaces will see less maintenance this year

Mowing, weeding and watering will be reduced

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

Most Read