Natturalik — Golden Eagle

Golden eagles are only common in the low arctic, near the treeline. However, they do sometimes wander farther north across the tundra, where the Inuit quickly notice them. Some old legends tell of eagles, and it is possible that in past years there was more interaction between eagles and Inuit. Now some Inuit associate eagles with the Indian groups further south: "Eagles belong to Indians. …" It is recognized that eagles are very sacred for many Indian groups.

George Agiaq Kappianaq, an elder from Igloolik, tells this story about encountering a golden eagle.

I would imagine in areas where there are high mountains, that is part of Canada, there might be a lot of eagles, and some are living amongst the Indians. It was only last year, that an eagle, that might have been sent by an Indian to check up, came to this area. In fact it landed on the snow […] Then another landing was sighted at Iglulik. There was one Indian that asked about it […] He had asked if an eagle had ever made it to this area, to the Arctic. When he asked, then I got suspicious that he might have referred to these two sightings. The two eagles might have been sent to check on us. I told him that in our community an eagle had landed on a snow mount. He was not surprised, but only acknowledged my answer. He said that his father had lived here as a worker… (IOHP 454).

George Kappianaq went on to explain that eagles are capable of examining an area very rapidly and then returning to wherever they came from. This could make them very powerful birds, both in everyday life and as associates for shamans. They are large and strong enough to attack a small caribou calf, and can inflict damage that is noticed by hunters who catch the caribou later on.