Eagle Way, detail, 2001, Peggy Black, ET513.F-6
Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

Eagle Way

Atsájí (Eagle Way) is a healing ceremony rarely performed today. It takes place over five days to heal internal and external wounds. The ceremony recounts the journey of one of the Hero Twins, Naayéé’ Neizghání (Monster Slayer), to learn the ritual way to catch atsá (eagles) which hold great power. Monster Slayer traveled to the home of the Eagle People where they put him through a series of tests in hopes of driving him away. After passing all the tests, Monster Slayer was accepted into the Eagle family. They taught him songs and prayers. He learned how to properly capture an eagle by using a live rabbit as bait and how to distribute the eagle feathers to the appropriate gods. Among the implements used in an Eagle Way Chant is a whistle made from the femur of a jackrabbit killed by an eagle.