Meaning of the Peace Symbol
Native American Indians were a deeply spiritual people and they communicated their history, thoughts, ideas and dreams from generation to generation through Symbols and Signs such as the Peace symbol. Native American symbols are geometric portrayals of celestial bodies, natural phenomena and animal designs. n Sioux mythology, Wohpe is a goddess of peace and represents harmony and meditation. She gave the Sioux a pipe as a symbol of peace. The Sacred stone of Wohpe is turquoise which is given as a gift as a symbol for friendship. The meaning of the broken arrow symbol was to signify peace. A Peace treaty or covenant was signed with due ceremony.
The Peace Pipe Symbol
A ceremonial smoking pipe, called a Calumet, was often used to seal a peace treaty, hence the term 'Peace Pipe'. This name was given to the Calumet by the settlers who only saw the pipe being smoked on this occasion. However, the Calumet was also used to offer prayers in religious ceremonies and in war councils.
Picture of a Calumet - Peace Pipe
The Peace Symbol - "To bury the Hatchet"
It is also interesting to note that the Tomahawk or the Hatchet Axe was a Native American symbol of both war and peace. To bury a tomahawk meant peace - to dig it up, meant to declare the most deadly warfare, hence the phrase "to bury the hatchet" when making peace.
The Iroquois Confederacy - The Tree of Peace
Dekanawida, the Great Peacemaker and Hiawatha united five nations to create the Iroquois Confederacy. The Great Peacemaker used a white pine, called the Tree of Peace, to symbolize the peace that had been established. The branches of the Tree of Peace represented protection. A far seeing eagle sat upon the top of the tree to symbolize a warning system if the tribes were in danger. Beneath the roots of the Tree of Peace a weapon was buried which symbolized that there would be no fighting between the Iroquois tribes.
Tree of Peace
The Peace Symbol - Meaning
There were so many tribes of Native American Indians it is only possible to generalise the most common meaning of the Peace symbol or pattern. Native Indian symbols are still used as Tattoos and were used for a variety of reasons and depicted on numerous objects such as tepees, totem poles, musical instruments, clothes and War Paint. Indian Tribes also used their own Colors for Symbols and designs depending on the natural resources available to make Native American paint.