National Animal Rights Awareness Week is celebrated annually the third week of June and in 2023, begins June 19. That same date is Juneteenth, a federal holiday and the day that has us lifting up human freedom and reflecting on the horrific legacy of slavery and the traumas and wounds inflicted by centuries of ongoing systemic racism.
What has this to do with a young female hunter in Mongolia and her partner, a magnificent golden eagle? To me, this is an image of strength, of infinite collaboration, of equal physical and intellectual prowess, and of course, breathtaking freedom.
What I love most about the perspective as we look upward at this young girl and the bird lifting off into flight is that both sentient beings appear powerful. I take joy not only in her astonishing mastery, but in the circle of unity within which she and her companion live and work. Eagle hunting is a practice that has for centuries been men’s and boy’s work. This girl’s father has broken through the chains of traditional gender bias and taught the craft of eagle hunting to his daughter. When I visited, I delighted in her skill, her complete respect for the eagle, and her ability to ride a horse at terrific speeds and over rough, rocky, icy terrain while carrying an enormous eagle on one arm.
If we allow and empower ourselves and others to break the binds of bias and prejudice, might we also find ourselves aloft? Elevated by purpose and empowered through action, society has everything to gain, especially if we perform such acts within a circle of global unity.