Native American Animal Symbols

Interested in Native American animal symbols? Read our guide to uncover what each Native American animal symbol means…

It is believed that the Native Americans were nature loving people. They held many elements of nature as sacred including a host of animals. These animals were turned into symbols that stood for virtuous qualities such as courage, wisdom, strength etc.

The peace loving people believed in becoming one with nature as the only means to attain salvation and gain peace. Animal symbols and totems were taken as a spiritual guide for every individual. Some of the most prominent Native American animal symbols are listed below.

The Buffalo

The symbol of the buffalo was perhaps most dear to the Natives. They considered the buffalo to represent the bounties of mother earth itself. This was because they derived food, drink and clothing from the animal.

The Eagle

Anyone faintly acquainted with Native American culture knows that the eagle plays a prominent part in their culture. The symbol of the eagle represented a divine spirit that would protect all living things. It was believed to have the power to protect people against all kinds of evil.

The Wolf

The wolf is another highly revered animal symbol by the Native Americans. It was taken as a symbol of success as well as loyalty. This meaning was derived by looking at the lifestyle of the wolves, especially the fact that they would mate for life. They were also considered to be extremely loyal creatures. The Native Indians would even domesticate wolves and keep them in their tribes.

The Spinning Lizard

The symbol of the spinning lizard is a rather unique but fairly popular Native American animal symbol. It was most popular amongst the Navajo people and can be seen in works of design from the South Western region.

The buffalo

The buffalo was considered to be the most important animal symbol amongst all. This was because the Native Indians gained many benefits from buffalos such as the fact that they made their clothing from their hides, they ate their meat and drank their milk. They even used buffalos to plough the land. It was but natural that the Native Americans hold the buffalo up in high esteem.

The spider

As small as it is the spider was a prominent symbol of hard work and perseverance. As can be seen, the Native Indians derived the symbolic meanings from these animals based on how they lived. The symbol of the spider was to be found across all Native American tribes. It was most commonly depicted in red and black on works of pottery and wood.

The Bear

The symbol of the bear was suggestive of leadership and strength. Each tribe also had two men known as the Grizzly bear men. These two men were actually fierce warriors who were made to charge at the enemies head on.

The Turtle

The turtle holds a very important place with regards to the religious beliefs of the Native Indians. They have an entire mythology surrounding the creature. The symbol of the turtle is perhaps one of the most popular amongst them all and it is to be found in almost all Native American Tribes. It is also one of the oldest Native American animal symbols.

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