Lovebirds Wide Cuff
Eagle and Raven are known as the “Lovebirds” on the Northwest Coast. The reason comes from a tradition started by the Tlingit people in the 1800s. The Tlingit only have two clans (or moieties): Eagle clan and Raven clan (not to be confused with “houses”, of which there are many.) During that century, when the Native cultures of the Northwest Coast were flourishing and the wealth of the fur trade was flowing throughout the world, a new custom was born. When a man was mature and wealthy enough to seek a wife he had to look outside his clan, and had to receive the permission of the woman’s uncle before he could court her and make his intentions known to her family. He announced his suit by giving her a gift. The gift of choice was a silver or gold bracelet, hand-carved with the symbol of both clans, the Eagle and the Raven.
So, when a young man met a woman, his first question was, “Are you Eagle or Raven?” If he was an Eagle and she was an eagle, she would be his “sister”. If she was a Raven, she was a potential mate. Romance could bloom!
Eagles, and also Ravens, mate for life. This aspect has such good energy to create strength in families and clans. Raven is the bringer of creation, knowledge and prestige. Eagles bring peace and friendship, all so necessary to a healthy union.
-Artist Statement by Owen & Janet Walker