With this album, Young Spirit hope to break the seal of secrecy or shame around the topic of mental health. The mental health of individuals contributes to the mental health of our communities. As a group, we want to shed light on this subject especially in this day and age where people are isolated and may feel distant from family, friends and sources of strength in their communities.
The pandemic is being fought on the physical level through expedited research. However, it is also being fought on the level of mental health by caring for peoples’ emotional spirit. This can be hard at a time when people are spread apart. People are not so connected anymore. They are trying to find ways to stay connected and that is very hard to do right now.
Mental health is a struggle for all of us as it effects all of us. When one of us feels hopeless, the seeds are there for others to feel hopeless or overwhelmed. It is not a bad thing to ask for help and to seek help. If our mental health is left unattended, it can harm families, friends and the community at large. Everybody has the potential to be an Angel Eagle in someone else’s life.
The title references a very personal family memory experienced by Conan Yellowbird and the Yellowbird family regarding the loss of Conan’s brother, Tyler Yellowbird, to addiction and eventually suicide. Grieving, the Yellowbird family buried Tyler, feeling hopeless as to how they could have helped Tyler and how could they help him on the next part of his journey.
They thought, “How can we help the one who has left us?” They prayed. As the Going Home Song was sung during Tyler’s burial, the family saw four eagles flying in perfect sequence overhead. Conan and the family wondered that maybe those eagles were there to accompany Tyler onward. He was not alone.
We have to get used to talking about mental health. It has to be a normal part of our conversation.
We have to be open to talking about these things. If we can do that then many people will be able help save lives and strengthen our families, our communities and our Indigenous culture. So, each of us can be an Angel Eagle in the life of somebody who needs us. We can listen and we can help. It is a challenge to all of us, to be brave enough to be there as an Angel Eagle for someone when they need it.
— Young Spirit Singers, 2021