The Eagle is accorded the highest respect by all Indian tribes. The eagle is often depicted as representing the Thunderbird. The Thunderbird is the messenger of the Creator by those tribes who recognize the Creator as a part of their religion. Thus the Eagle feather is worn at Pow Wows only by Indian Veterans who have been in combat, and persons who have been awarded Eagle feathers by Indian combat veterans.

When, by accident, an Eagle feather is dropped in the arena by a dancer, the feather is immediately danced over and protected by the veteran who sees it first. After that dance is over, a drum (if possible a traditional drum) is selected to sing a "Brave Man" or veterans' song. The arena is cleared, and everyone stands as a sign of respect as an Indian veteran who has been wounded in combat (a Brave Man) dances to the song, and picks up the feather at the song's conclusion. The Brave Man then returns the eagle feather to its owner, and the owner gives him a gift in appreciation of the services the Brave Man has performed for him.

The information in this section of the website is courtesy of 'Chicago Original Powwow' 48th Annual Pow Wow Flyer.