Bear, feather, eagle and arrow are some of the well-known Native American symbols. The symbols usually signified qualities that were adored by these tribes.
Native American symbols were a medium of expression for these tribal people. Although Native Americans had their own language, these symbols were integral part of their culture, that would often convey a message. A group of these ancient symbols and designs, would often tell a story that had a deeper meaning and a strong moral message.
Native American Symbols
The bear is a gigantic beast that simply does not fear anyone. The mother bear can wage a war with the strongest of creatures on Earth to save her cubs. It is a ferocious animal and its mere presence can bring fear in the minds of its enemy. No wonder, in Native America, it symbolizes power, protection and courage. The tribes that were named as ‘bear’ were considered to be extremely courageous and brave.
People having complete knowledge about ancient symbols that depict culture of Native American, must be knowing that wolf stands for shrewdness and intelligence. The wolf has a unique ability to hunt its prey and create its own habitat. Its intellectual capacity is extremely high. This can be understood from the fact that it communicates correctly to its master, through bodily movements. Therefore, the symbol of wolf in this ancient culture also indicates communication.
Also referred to as ‘masters of the sky’, eagles are equipped with a sharp eyesight that can see its prey from a long distance. In fact their eyesight is 4-5 times more powerful and sharp than that of humans. Due to its excellent vision, eagle in the Native American culture represents keen eyesight.
Buffalo was revered by these people, mainly because, it gave them food in the form of milk and clothing that was made from its skin. That is why it buffalo was a sacred animal for the tribe, as it fulfilled their basic needs. No wonder, they associated the meaning of this symbol with generosity.
The dancer symbol represented an occasion of festivity and celebration. The symbol was an expression of a joyous event. For other tribes, it meant a ritual dance performed for a religious ceremony. Some of the most popular dances that formed an integral part of their religious ceremonies are Hoop dance, Scalp dance and Buffalo dance.
The arrival of rain cloud is a good sign for the farmers as it is an indication of falling of rain. Proper rainfall means a better crop production, which would bring prosperity to the farmers and the land. Hence, Native Americans associated rain cloud with good prospects.
The cloud, rain and lightning were regarded as symbols for love. Native American love was not restricted to love between 2 opposite genders. They also had immense respect and love for nature (clouds, trees, mountains). Cloud and rain made the land fertile and productive, ensuring better yield of crops. They believed that nature bestowed gifts such as fertility to the land, due to their nature loving attitude.
The leader of a Native American tribe used to wear feathers, which symbolized his command over his tribe. No one among the tribe had the authority to disobey the order of their leader. Wearing or giving feathers was considered as a mark of honor and respect.
The dog is the most faithful animal that remains loyal and protects its master during his good and bad times. That is why Native Americans considered dog a symbol of loyalty and protection.
The symbol turtle holds a lot of mythological significance in the Native American culture. The legend has it that when the whole world was under water, a turtle named Earth Diver went all the way down, at the bottom of the ocean. From the depth of the ocean the turtle brought a ball of mud that had magical powers. This mud was then used by the Creator to make the hills, mountains and other landforms. No wonder, the turtle symbol has been associated with Mother Earth.
As the turtles can easily survive up to 150 years, the symbol also signifies a healthy long lifespan. On the other hand, the tough shell of the turtle is a symbol of protection as it can withstand the rigors of harsh weather.
The sun symbol is considered as a symbol of growth as the sun gives light and heat that helps to cultivate crops and sustain life on earth. The sun’s rays represented the main directions North, East, West and South. The Native Americans had the highest regard for the sun and as a mark of respect they performed the sun dance.
Native Americans took the help of bow and arrow for hunting purposes, as well as to protect their kids from wild animals. This was one tool that they completely relied upon in protecting themselves from their enemies. Hence, the arrow symbol represented protection.
Hunting was the main source of livelihood for Native Americans. They often hunted deer to obtain food and clothing. Hence, deer marks indicated that there is a conducive environment for hunting. In other words, there is enough prey to hunt and one would not go home empty-handed. As deer hunting helped these tribal people to meet their basic necessities, they also considered it as a symbol of shelter and safety.
Disclaimer: These symbols are for representation purpose only.