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

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Community outbreak of COVID-19 confirmed on Haida Gwaii

Contact tracing has confirmed a total of 13 cases, according to Northern Health

Burns Lake couple escapes the Econo Lodge Fire in time

Escapes unharmed but loses their belongings

Travelling nuns spark social media panic in Burns Lake

The six Catholic nuns with Alberta plates were seen driving around from Prince Rupert to Burns Lake

Betty Stewart, the champion for Burns Lake’s only accessible playground

The woman who considers herself as just a coordinator while the community recognizes her efforts

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Wild’s Mathew Dumba makes anti-racism speech, kneels ahead of Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Matt Dumba, 26, took to center ice to speak on behalf of fellow members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance

Most Read