Symbols and Meanings

The Indigenous People of the United States

Discover interesting facts and information about the history and culture of Native American Indians and their tribes

War Paint on Iowa Warrior

Symbols with Meaning - What did the Handprint mean?

Discover facts and information about the culture of Native American Indians via the Symbols and Meanings dictionary.

Gain an understanding of symbolism and the meaning signs used by Native American Indian tribes from the Symbols and Meanings dictionary.

Discover facts about the secret and mysterious Symbols and Meanings used by Native American Indians  in this comprehensive, illustrated Symbols and Meanings reference guide.

Native American SymbolsTattoos
Native Indian Tribes Index

Symbols and Meanings

The Native American Indians used many Symbols and Meanings to convey secret meanings. Our illustrated Symbols and Meanings guide provide a unique insight into the ancient and mysterious symbols and meanings used in their unusual forms of non-verbal communication. For additional information refer to the article on the Interpretation of Symbols.

Native American Symbols and Meanings
The Native American Symbols and their Meanings were usually based on geometric portrayals of celestial  such as the sun, moon and stars, natural phenomena such as thunderstorms and rain and animal designs including eagles, serpents and spiders. War paint that used by Indian warriors contained secret Symbols and Meanings and even horses were painted with Symbols and Meanings.  Many Symbols and Meanings were spiritual in nature conveying various religious beliefs. For additional information refer to Power Animals. Other Symbols and Meanings conveyed immediately identifiable secret messages to other tribe members. The Symbols and Meanings used by Native Americans also had practical purposes such as recording important events, providing directions, indicating good hunting areas or as warning signs and meanings.

Symbols and Meanings - Pictograms
Some of the Symbols used by Native Americans were simple pictograms. A pictogram conveys a story through pictures using Symbols and Meanings that signified and resembled the shapes of physical objects or people. An Ideagram is another form of pictogram which conveys complex ideas, feelings and emotions. A pictogram is a form of writing which uses representational, pictorial drawings to tell a story with symbols and meanings.

Symbols with Meaning
A full description of the Symbols and Meanings are detailed for each of the subjects shown on the following list.

Symbols and Meanings

 Pictures of Symbols and Meanings
Symbols and Meanings 
 

Arrow Symbol


Arrow symbolized protection and defence.

 

 
 

Arrowhead Symbol


Arrowhead symbolized alertness  
 


Avanyu symbolized a benevolent but fearful creature 
 

  Bear Symbol


Bear symbolized courage, physical strength and leadership 
 

   


Bear Track indicated a direction and are also symbols of leadership 
 

 


Bird Man represented the Upperworld, order, and light

 
 

 


Bird Symbols discover the meanings and myths about Native American Bird Symbols 
 

Bird Track Symbol 


Bird Track symbolized light-hearted freedom. The tracks of any animal or bird were used to indicate a direction.

 
 

      


Brothers symbolized brothers and blood brothers

 
 

              


Butterfly symbolized transformation

 
 

Cactus Symbol   Cactus Symbol


Cactus symbolized warmth, protection and endurance 
 

Camp Fire Symbol


Camp Fire symbolized a temporary overnight stop 
 


Circle symbols symbolized the cycle of the seasons and the cycle of life to death to rebirth and the four elements. 
 


Change symbolized by weather related symbols of rain, lightening and clouds. These are all important symbols representing change, renewal & fertility.

 
 


Chunkey symbolized players of a famous game practised by the ancient Mound Builders  
 


Courage - Morning Star symbolized hope and guidance 
 


Coyote symbolized a trickster deity 
 


Cross Symbols symbolized the earth's forces, their origin and the manner in which they work 
 

Cross with Circle Symbol  Solar Cross Symbol


Cross in a Circle symbolized the Sacred Four elements, the great primary forces of Fire, Air, Water and Earth. 
 


Crow symbolized as one of the wisest birds 
 

Dancer Symbol


Dancer symbolized a celebration or ritual dance 
 


Days and Nights symbolized the passing of time 
 

 


Death Any Native American symbols that were portrayed upside down signified death. 
 

Deer Track Symbol 


Deer Track symbolized safety, prosperity, and shelter 
 

  


Dragonfly symbolized happiness, speed and purity  
 

Drum Symbol


Drum was used to interact with a higher power known to most as the Great Spirit 
 

             Eagle Symbol


Eagle symbolized courage, wisdom and strength  
 


Earth represented the four nations  
 

Enclosure Symbol


Enclosure symbolized an area had been set aside for a special event - a ceremonial dance or ritual 
 


Eye of a Medicine Man A Medicine Man, or Shaman, was believed to have magical powers of Spiritual Healing and of seeing into the future

 
 


Falcon symbolized as messengers to the gods 
 


Fire represents cleansing and renewal 
 

           


Fox symbolized a trickster playing pranks  
 

 


Family symbolized within a circle or by a tepee or pictogram of a man, woman, boy and girl

 
 


Feathered Serpent symbolized a benign or benevolent although fearful creature  
 


Feathers symbolized honor & connected the user with the Creator

 
 


Fertility symbol and sign 
 


Friendship symbolized by crossed arrows 
 

Four Ages of Man Symbol


Four Ages of Man symbolized the milestones in a person's life  
 

     Gila Monster


Gila Monster symbolized preservation and survival 
 


Great Serpent symbolized a malevolent creature  
 

Great Spirit Symbol


Great Spirit symbolized the principal deity in the religion of many Native American people

 
 

Hand Symbol


Hand represented success in hand to hand combat 
 

Handprint Symbol


Handprint symbolized human life and this sign was believed to channel energy to the wearer.

 
 


Hand Eye symbolized a portal or a magical doorway 
 

Rainbow Kokopelli


Harmony symbolized by the Rainbow Kokopelli Symbol. 
 


Hawk symbolized the life force of the animal 
 

Heartline Symbol


Heartline symbolized the life force of the animal 
 

Homecoming Symbol


Homecoming signified the return of a warrior 
 

Hoof Print Symbol


Hoof Print represented the number of horses that were taken on a raid

 
 


Hope

 
 Pictures of Symbols and Meanings
Symbols and Meanings 

Symbols and Meanings

 

 

Symbols and Meanings
The Symbols and Meanings are detailed for each of the pictures and signs shown on the list.

Symbols and Meanings

 Pictures of Symbols and Meanings
Symbols and Meanings 
 


Horned Serpent symbolized a benign or benevolent although fearful creature 
 

Hummingbird SymbolHummingbird


Hummingbird symbolized peace, love and happiness 
 

Journey symbol


Horse was the symbol of mobility, stamina, strength and power 
 

Indian Camp Symbol


Indian Camp 
 

Journey symbol


Journey 
 

Kokopelli symbol


Kokopelli symbolized music making and dancing and spreading joy  
 

Lake Symbol


Lake 
 


Symbol of Life 
 

Lightening symbol


Lightning 
 

Hummingbird


Love 
 


Man 
 

Many Fish Symbol


Many Fish 
 

Moon Symbol


Moon symbolized as the protector and guardian of the earth 
 


Morning Star symbolized as the renewal of tradition and resurrection of the heroes of the past  
 

Mountain Range Symbol


Mountain Range 
 

 


Mother 
 


Owl symbolized to be messengers from beyond the grave 
 


Panther symbolized a benign or benevolent although fearful creature 
 

Peace Symbol   


Peace 
 


Piasa - a mythical bird, who resided in the Underworld with the spirits associated with death and destruction - refer to Mythical creatures and monsters 
 


Protection Symbol 
 


Raccoon symbolized an expert at disguise and secrecy 
 


Raven symbolized that danger has passed and that good luck would follow 
 

Rain Symbol


Rain 
 


Red Horn symbolized a great hero 
 


Serpent symbolized a malevolent creature of the Underworld  
 


Sisters Symbol 
 


Snake Symbol 
 

Solar Cross Symbol    Cross with Circle Symbol


Solar Cross symbolized the great primary forces of Fire, Air, Water and Earth 
 


Spider symbolized creativity and was the weaver of the fabric of life  
 


Swastika symbolized peace, life and good luck 
 

Bear Symbol


Strength 
 

   Shaman Symbol


Shaman 
 


Saddlebag symbolized a journey 
 

Scalp Symbols


Scalp symbolized the number of scalps taken  
 


Spring & Summer 
 


Square 
 

Star Symbol


Star 
 

Sun Symbols


Sun symbolized the cardinal directions, North, South, East and West 
 

Temporary Home Symbol


Temporary Home 
 


Thunderbird symbolized as an omen of war  
 


Trickster symbolized as a coyote  
 

Turtle Symbol   Turtle Symbol


Turtle symbolized good health and long life  
 


Twins 
 

Arrow Symbol


War 
 

Water Symbol


Water 
 


Warrior 
 

White Soldiers Symbol


White Soldiers 
 

Winter Symbol


Winter 
 

      


Wolf The wolf signified strength, endurance, Instinct linked with intelligence and family values 
 

       Wolf Tracks Symbol


Wolf Tracks The tracks of an animal, such as a wolf, were used to indicate a direction 
 


Woman 
 

Yei Symbol


Yei  - the Navajo Yei Spirit who mediates between humans and the Great Spirit 
 


Zuni Bear symbolized as the Guardian of the West 
 Pictures of Symbols and Meanings
Symbols and Meanings 

Symbols and Meanings

 

Symbols and Meanings

  • Symbols and Meanings and designs
  • Meaning, symbolism and interpretation of the Symbols and Meanings  and symbols
  • Interesting facts and info about the history of Symbols and Meanings and designs
  • Pictures for Symbols and Meanings and ideas for designs
  • Native Symbols and Meanings with ideas and designs

 

Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Symbols and Meanings. Discover the vast selection of pictures which relate to the History of Native Americans and illustrate many decorations and tattoos used by American Indians. The pictures show the clothing, tattoos, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes that can be used as a really useful educational history resource for kids and children of all ages. We have included pictures to accompany the main topic of this section - Symbols and Meanings.

 

Symbols and Meanings - Symbols - Tattoo - Indian - Tattoos - Indian - Meaning - Symbols and Meanings - Meanings - Info - Symbols and Meanings - Indian - Designs - Ideas - Indian - Information - Pictures - Icons - Tribal - Tribes - Symbols and Meanings - Authentic - Traditional - Symbols and Meanings - Symbols - Tattoo - Tattoos - Indian - Symbols and Meanings - Meaning - Symbols and Meanings - Meanings - Info - Information - Pictures - Symbols and Meanings - Icons - Tribal - Tribes - Authentic - Traditional - Symbols and Meanings - History - Symbols and Meanings - Indian - Designs - Ideas - Paintings - Symbols and Meanings - Images - Symbols and Meanings - Written By Linda Alchin