An answer to a very good extremely misunderstood important question.
Native American ceremony on a veteran receiving the honored eagle feather?
I follow my elders, now ancestors on this question and may or may not apply to other tribes.
The leaders of our group of tribal people have always believed from the beginning of our existence, that everyone that fights for the rights and safety of the people are heroes and deserve a recognition from Birds of Prey.
Up until a short time ago, going to any battle for a protection of the people was in some way mandatory (European word drafted) so, no matter how you came back from or did not come back from this battle (War) you received the recognition from the Birds of Prey!
Did you notice that the words Birds of Prey are capitals?
Birds of Prey is a very sacred ceremony!
My grandfathers had, until it was stolen, a Birds of Prey staff, feathers from all birds of prey found around New England.
No one knows the age of this lost staff!
To kill any bird of prey was the same as killing any member of the people and was never none!
Without going into this sacred ceremony except to help in your understanding, the four corners, (Shehukte Kina Konacya), War Chief, and Head Grand Clan Mother, were in the circle along with the leader of the people (Sachem).
Each warrior in turn would dance the circle (Paw-paus) stopping at the staff only to be touched by the staff to receive a blessing from Creator and the spirits of the birds of prey!
One not returning family, as many as wish, danced the circle.
THE FOUR SACRED CORNERS. (Shehukte Kina Konacya).