Interested in Native American tribal symbols? Read our guide for finding out the meanings of each Native American tribal symbol…
Symbolism was a prominent part of the Native American culture. The total number of symbols used by the Native Americans is exhaustive. Each symbol had its own special meaning based upon observations of nature and ancestral understandings.
Generally the symbols were to be found in all tribes but in slightly different forms. Different colors and designs were used to depict more or less the same thing in each different tribe. The depiction varies according to geographical areas as well as the availability of raw materials needed to produce paint. The Natives would make use of all the materials that were available close at hand to make these symbols.
Some of the most important Native American tribal symbols are listed below:
The arrow is one of the most important Native American symbols. In its simple form the arrow represents protection. When the arrows are displayed in a cross it signifies friendship. On the other hand an arrowhead on its own symbolizes alertness. The arrow is also a popularly used symbol in the construction of Native American necklaces.
The Bear Track
The bear by itself is a very important animal symbol. It represents leadership and strength. Each tribe would also have two warriors named as the Grizzly Bears. These warriors would be the first to charge at the enemies. The bear track on the other hand was taken as a good omen.
The symbol of the bird varies according the bird in question. For example the eagle was taken as a symbol for a divine spirit. A bird in flight however reflected lightheartedness and a carefree spirit. The feathers of the eagle were used to symbolize the chief of a tribe. The thunderbird was considered to be the sacred barer of happiness. The track of the bird was considered to be suggestive of prey.
The cactus was also a popular symbol in some of the tribes. Generally the cactus was taken as a sign of the desert. On the other hand the cactus flower represented courtship.
The symbolic meaning that water took varied according to the nature of the water. Running water for example was considered to be a symbol of the continuity of life. Being nature loving people the Native Americans were extremely fascinated by rain. The rain had an obvious symbolic meaning as it was taken as a sign that plentiful crops will be grown. As it is the Native American people were heavily involved in farming so the rain was always good news for them.
These are just some of the most important symbols that are to be found in the Native American tribal culture. There were hoards of other symbols such as the horse signifying a journey, a fence symbolizing guarding, a snake symbolizing defiance and the rays of the sun signifying constancy.