Native American Symbols

Native American Symbols
We are often asked by customers about the meaning of designs used in American Indian arts and crafts, particularly on jewelry and pottery.  While it is true that many design symbols represent specific ideas or things taken from a native american cultural context, it is also true that many are only peripherally related to the culture or religious beliefs of a particular tribe. What is significant to one tribe may or may not be meaningful to another tribe, or it may be interpreted in a different way. Many symbols are just an artist’s interpretation of a pleasing pattern or patterns that look good together.In this section, we shall discuss some of the most common symbols found in native american art, crafts, and cultures.

October 8, 2010

Most archaeologists of the Northern Plains recognize eight different classes or styles of medicine wheels.

“Lo-and-behold, the Blackfoot elders have routinely referred to one of these eight styles — although they don’t call it that — and they strongly indicate these were monuments to particular people, or events that happened in the past. I think there’s some consensus on that.”

Brace points out the most recent wheel was constructed in Alberta in 1938, as a memorial to a renowned Blackfoot leader.

Brace has come up with a medicine wheel definition that allows him to categorize the 12 to 14 Saskatchewan wheels, which range in diameter from 45 to 144 metres (160 yards), into four groups: burial; surrogate burial; fertility symbol; and “medicine hunting”.

Medicine Wheel
October 8, 2010

Simon Kytwayhat, a Cree elder who lives in Saskatoon, says he learned his Cree perspective on the meaning of the medicine wheel from elders. Kytwayhat’s interpretation of the meaning of the medicine wheel associates the four directions represented on the wheel with the four races and their attributes — the circle and the number four are sacred symbols in First Nations’ spirituality.

Medicine Wheel
October 7, 2010

Medicine wheels are disappearing at an alarming rate The Moose Mountain Medicine Wheel was first noted by Canadians of European ancestry in an 1895 report written by land surveyors. The report described the central cairn of the medicine wheel as being about 14 feet high, says Ian Brace, an archaeologist with the Royal Saskatchewan Museum […]

Medicine Wheel
October 7, 2010

Layout of a medicine wheel Medicine wheels were built by laying out stones in a circular pattern that often looked like a wagon wheel lying on its side. The wheels could be large, reaching diameters of 75 feet (23 metres) or more.Medicine wheels were constructed by laying stones in a particular pattern on the ground. […]

Medicine Wheel
October 7, 2010

Medicine Wheels in North America

The term “Medicine Wheel” is not a native american term. This terminology was initially used in the late 1800’s and early 1900 by people of European descent in reference to the Bighorn Medicine Wheel located near Sheridan, Wyoming. The term “medicine” was not applied because of any healing that was associated with the medicine wheel, but denotes that the sacred site and rock formations were of central importance and attributed with religious, hallowed, and spiritual significance.

Medicine Wheel

Shape Shifting

3 Views
June 15, 2006

Sands shifting, sifting, through time, it moves through my fingers it moves, through space, it sifts and changes. Never remaining the same. Shapeshifting.

Visions/Dreams
June 5, 2006

Symbols are visual clues that indicate or represent something. For the Pueblo Indians, colors have come to represent directions symbolically. For instance, for the Hopi, yellow represents north, white represents east, red represents south, blue represents west, and black represents “above.” For centuries, the Hopi have grown maize in each of these colors.

Native American Symbols
November 9, 2004

Totem carvings tell a story, revealed only if one knows the meaning assigned to various animals, fish, birds and designs and where they are placed. Here are the meanings of some common northwest indian symbols.   BEAVER Creative, Artistic and Determined src=”https://native-americans.com/wp-content/uploads/2004/11/img257.gif” width=42 border=0 align=”left”> BEAR Strength, Learned Humility, Motherhood, Teaching   BUMBLEBEE Honesty, Pure […]

Totem Animals
November 9, 2004

The examples below are a small sample of the total number of symbols used by the Great Plains people. Not every tribe used these same examples, however, as with sign languages, they were often used as a common means of communication to convey a central idea.

Native American Symbols
November 9, 2004

The examples below are but a small sample of the total number of symbols used by the Great Plains people. Not every tribe used these same examples, however, as with sign languages, they were often used as a common means of communication to convey a central idea.

Native American Symbols
November 9, 2004

Southwest Indian Symbols… KEYWORDS: southwest indian symbols of indigenous peoples american indian symbol hopi symbol navajo symbol sacred symbols mother earth symbol kokopelli flute player symbol Hopi nakwách symbol of brotherhood friendship symbol fertility symbol sign of the Elder War God Hopi God of Death Maasaw connected circles keptevipi Tapu’a Mother Earth symbol of spiritual […]

Native American Symbols
October 31, 2004

At the age of nine, Nicholas Black Elk, a holy man of the Oglala Sioux, had a great vision. This vision was the primary subject of his interview with writer John Neihardt and Neihardt’s subsequent 1932 novel, Black Elk Speaks. As the title suggests, Neihardt’s novel is the medium through which Black Elk shares his life narrative. Through the novel, in addition to the recounting of his great vision and other significant events in his personal history, Black Elk voices significant events and figures in Sioux history. 

Visions/Dreams
October 27, 2004

The graceful bird of the skies, the eagle, is the prayer carrier and messenger of the Anishinabe people. As the eagle soars across the skies, one knows he is carrying the prayers to the Creator.The eagle has great significance for the Anishinabe and all native american people when it comes to healing ceremonies and ceremonies honouring and respecting other people. Although people of different cultures may have different beliefs, respecting others’ beliefs is part of the growing process in the Anishinabe way of life.

Totem Animals
February 11, 2002

Tags: Indian symbols used in jewelry meaning of indian symbols symbols used in sterling silver jewelry southwest jewelry navajo jewelry hopi pueblo Indian Jewelry culture indian symbol thunderbird kokopelli broken arrow happiness strength freedom

This article contains a chart of commonly used symbols in modern Indian jewelry designs, along with a brief explanation of the symbol’s meaning.

Native American Symbols
February 11, 2002

There are many styles of the “THUNDERBIRD.” I seek to locate the people who have depicted the Thunderbird with a triangle/pyramid in the center of the birds chest. Also the depiction of human figures with flat topped heads in their artwork. Cultural History, traditions or Myths. Assistance PLEASE. Blessings 🙂 Support Our SponsorFire Thunder Buy […]

Native American Symbols
January 10, 2002

Since the Indian hunting horse had different duties than that of a war horse, a different set of symbols were used to aid the hunting horse and his rider. Designed to help the Indian hunter in finding the buffalo herd, many of these symbols also brought favor from the Great Spirit.

The Indian hunter’s wife had the privilege of painting his hunting horse, and if he was unmarried, that privilege was his mother’s. 

Native American Symbols
January 10, 2002

The Indian war horse was highly regarded by its American Indian owner, who often honored and protected his war horse by painting tribal symbols upon the animal’s body.

While the symbols used and their meanings varied from tribe to tribe, there were some common symbols that were widely used on the Indian war horse. In this article, you will find explanations of some symbols which Indians used to decorate their war horses.

Native American Symbols