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

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)

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)

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

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich repeals, reschedules two public hearings for consideration of new information

Move to hold public hearings for second time ‘very rare,’ mayor says

(File - Sooke News Mirror)
Man exposes himself to woman, children on Sooke trail

Suspect believed to be between 55 and 65 years of age

Eligible non-profit organizations and charities apply for support through North Saanich’s COVID-19 relief until Feb. 12.(Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich lays out criteria for grants to non-profits

Eligible applicants can apply for an unlimited amount to help ease effects of COVID-19

Patrick MacMullan won $28,000 playing Toto. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Greater Victoria man wins $28,000 while watching football

Winning ticket purchased at Colwood convenience store

(Pixabay photo)
Emergency repairs underway on Phillips Road in Sooke

Sewage may have entered DeMamiel Creek and Sooke River

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

The District reopened access to the Sooke Potholes on Friday. (Contributed - Ashley Ensor)
Sooke Potholes reopen after storm

The park was closed on Wednesday after down power lines

Nursing staff at West Coast General Hospital celebrate the announcement of a $6.25-million expansion of the emergency department that will start in March 2021. (File photo)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read