Common Native American Symbols Explained

Published on January 21, 2013 by Amy

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Common Native American Symbols
Common Native American Symbols Explained

Those interesting designs and patterns that you see on jewelries, potteries, clothing, weavings, and all kinds of ornaments are not just there for aesthetic purposes. Much of them are Native American symbols that have meanings and interpretations. Just like those prehistoric cave drawings, those symbols were used by Native Americans to communicate their thoughts, expressions, beliefs, and tales that they want to pass on from one generation to another. And it is widely believed that because of those symbols, you will find very few written languages made by Native Americans from ancient times.

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Native Americans were always inspired by nature, which is the reason why most of their symbols are of sun, moon, rain, birds, and leaf among others. It is also believed that some of those symbols were derived from their dreams which they used as an inspiration throughout their lives.

The meaning of those Native American symbols varies from one culture to another. And the difference in translations and interpretations were brought about by the forced migrations. As they start to trade with different people coming from different cultures, the translations were also changed. And as time passed by, more and more symbols were introduced that even some of them depict Christian symbols just to serve some of the local missionaries that they traded with during their times.

One of the symbols with different meanings is the sun. Some cultures interpret the sun as a symbol of heroic events and war stories. While some of them relate it to the creation history and happiness. The storm cloud was an expression of change, while others think of it as renewal and fertility. A raindrop expresses abundant crops and the rain means prosperity. A spiral depicts going up or coming down like the flight of an eagle. And a corn pollen or cornmeal is a symbol of blessing for protection.

There are specific symbols like tribe symbols that are intended to give courage to their warriors. But the most common and popular Native American symbol that you will find adorned on wardrobes and headdress is the feather. To them, it is a sacred universal symbol representing power, wisdom, trust, honor and strength which is given as a gift to someone deserving of respect and honor for his personal accomplishment that greatly benefited a tribe. When someone is given anything with a feather, it is expected that it should be displayed with pride and Native Americans consider it disrespectful when it is hidden somewhere that no one can see it.

Native Americans are also religious and they put a lot of confidence in spirits. To them, everything that can be seen or unseen has spirits which is expressed through symbols. Those spiritual symbols give assurance that anyone who possess anything with them are guided by spirits, which gives them courage and strength.

Today, we find those Native American symbols embellished on any weavings or jewelry captivating. Every pattern is so intricate and carefully handcrafted that you can imagine the kind of culture that they have. Every piece of art carries with it a piece of Native American history and culture. And anyone who possesses anything adorned by those symbols cannot help but believe the symbol that it represents.

Source: outlawforpeace Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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