Native Americans lived close to nature. So they extensively used the symbols for plants, animals and various other objects. These symbols served as identification, carried spiritual meaning and also symbolized the culture of a tribe.
The bear is one of the most potent Native American symbols. It carries immense significance in the Native American culture. It denotes strength, courage, wisdom and independence of spirit.
Native Americans greatly respected the bear and believed that the bear was one of the most powerful and wise animals on land. If they ever hunted a bear, they would show it great respect.
The eagle is another very powerful Native American symbol. Native Americans believed that the eagle served as a messenger to the Supreme Creator.
In this role, the eagle was the one who carries the prayers of mankind to the creator and flies between the realm of the gods and spirits, and that of the humans.
The Eagle symbolizes great strength, prestige, and leadership capabilities. The Native Americans considered the feathers of an eagle to carry immense respect.
So only the warriors and members of the tribe who had achieved extraordinary things were allowed to wear these feathers. The two wings of an eagle also symbolize the gender balance achieved by the male and the female.
The Moon was a mythical and spiritual symbol in the Native American lore. The Native Americans believed that the Moon played a very important role at the time when the Creator was creating this world. The moon is the guardian of the world of mankind and protects mankind from different kinds of evil.
The Sun is another symbol that carries great significance among the Native Americans. It is believed to denote warmth, abundance and life. The sun carried special significance for the tribes who relied on agriculture as their food source.
They understood that it was the sun’s warmth which ripened the crops and fruits for their consumption. So they saw sun as a symbol of peace, healing and good things.
The Wolf symbolizes intelligence, loyalty and supernatural powers. The Native Americans believed that a wolf also signified family ties as it usually lived and hunted in a pack. They held that the wolf possesses great supernatural powers which made it among the most powerful land animals.
The Thunderbird is a mythic creature in the Native American culture. It denotes immense strength and power. Many Native American tribes associated the thunderbird with warfare and took his presence in the skies as an omen of victory.
According to the legends, a thunderbird carried bolts of thunder under his wings which he would wield to attack with a thunderstorm. Native Americans believed that the thunderbird was the most powerful spirit.
They also held that it possessed mythical powers and could transform into a human being at will. They are also believed to control the upper world and bestow rain and hail upon mankind.
Spirits of the Earth: Native American Philosophy, Symbolism And Nature Stories: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories Paperback – 28 Aug 1997