Interested in Native American symbols? Read our guide for facts and information to understand the meaning of a Native American symbol…
Symbolism took many forms in the Native American culture. The Natives were nature lovers and would develop symbols out of elements in nature. The collection of Native American symbols has representations for almost everything associated with basic life.
Native American Animal Symbols
Animal symbols have been a prominent part of many different cultures. The natives too observed the animal world in great detail and developed symbols to suggest particular traits found in that particular animal.
The wolf for example is one of the most important Native American animal symbols. It represents loyalty and success. The symbol of the wolf was given this meaning because it mates for life.
The bear is yet another highly revered symbol amongst the Native Indians. While the bear itself was taken as a symbol for strength, bear tracks on the other hand represented prosperity.
Native American Sacred Symbols
Native Americans were deeply spiritual. They had their own religious festivals and unique spiritual ceremonies. They had many sacred symbols that were part of their spiritual activities.
Eagle symbols were at the top of the list. The eagle itself was considered to be the master of the skies and a messenger to the Creator. It was tasked with the responsibility of taking the prayers of man to the spirit world. Eagle feathers were held in high honor. They were awarded to men who performed extraordinarily in battles. These men would then wear eagle feathers on their headdresses and bonnets. The circle is another sacred symbol which represents the continuity of life. In some tribes the number four was also considered to be a sacred symbol.
Native American Protection Symbols
There were many symbols that were developed for the purpose of warding off evil. They were also referred to as protection symbols. Foremost amongst them was the symbol of the arrow. When pointing to the left the arrow would signify protection. When pointing to the right the arrow would be a symbol for warding off evil.
The fence was another prominent protection symbol. Just like the fence protects personal property the symbol was meant to protect the individual or object it was placed on. The Buffalo eye was another popularly used protection symbol. Water in its various forms was considered to be a sacred symbol. Running water symbolized continuous life whereas rain represented bountiful crops.
Native American Basket Symbols
Basketry is considered to be one of the oldest surviving art forms in America. For the Native Americans baskets had great spiritual significance. They were decorated with many different symbols and were used in religious ceremonies. Different tribes had their own basket making techniques which were passed down generations and guarded as big secrets.
With the passage of time the art form has declined but some tribes have put in great effort into keeping the tradition alive. Native Indian baskets are today more popular for their aesthetic value rather than their symbolic significance.