Mother Symbol

Mother and Child Symbol

Native American Symbols or a pictogram, like the Mother symbol, can vary in meaning from one tribe to another and across the culture groups of North America. 

Discover facts and information about the meanings of secret and mysterious symbols and pictograms used by Native American Indians including the Mother symbol.

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Meaning of the Mother Symbol
Native American Indians were a deeply spiritual people and they communicated their history, thoughts, ideas and dreams from generation to generation through symbols. Native American symbols are generally geometric portrayals of celestial bodies, natural phenomena and animal designs. They were not often used to convey a strong emotional feelings or ideas. The concept of the Mother was often conveyed via a pictogram or using a number of symbols which when put together convey a different meaning and tell a story. There are a number of mother symbols including the circle symbol, the turtle and the Tapuat. In Lakota Sioux mythology, Chapa is the beaver spirit and symbolizes domesticity, labor and preparation. For additional information refer to the Family Symbol.

The Mother Symbol - the Tapuat
The Tapuat  is the Hopi symbol for mother earth which depicts a maze. The Hopi name for Mother Earth is 'Tapuat' meaning mother and child. Like the Man in the Maze Symbol of Life this icon is depicted by a series of a form of concentric circles and symbolizes the cycle of life and the path followed on the journey of life experienced by a child under the watchful eye of the mother. The lines symbolize the umbilical cord and birth, the cycle of life on its earthly path, the spiritual domain and rebirth. The lines and passages within the "maze" represent the universal plan of the Creator and the path that man must follow to seek enlightenment, which is often guided by the mother.

The Mother Symbol - Anog Ite a Sioux Legend
Anog Ite was a Sioux deity and said to be the mother of the Four Winds and the whirlwind. She causes pains to pregnant woman and makes babies cry. She was also said to have taught the Lakota how to separate porcupine quills and dye them.

The Mother Symbol - the Circle
The symbol of the mother can be depicted as a woman surrounded by a circle. A circle around other Native American symbols signifies family ties, closeness & protection. The circle has no break and holds that which cannot be broken. The circle is used as a basis for many symbols including the cycle of life from birth to death to rebirth.

The Meaning of the Mother and Child Symbol
The woman symbol in a circle is combined with the symbols for a boy and girl, this can be interpreted as a mother and child symbol. It might also be interpreted as a symbol of a grandmother.

The Symbol for Sisters depict a similar icon with two women who are positioned side-by-side representing unity and equality. The Symbol for Brothers  are represented by a similar sign.


The Turtle Symbol and the Earth Mother Symbol
The turtle symbol is revered as a sign of motherhood and the earth mother. The earth mother features in many Native American Indian myths and legends and is honored for saving mankind from the Great Flood. The turtle symbol of the earth mother represents her stoic ability to carries the heavy burden of man on her shell. Many species of the turtle have 13 sections to their under side  believed to represent the cycle of the thirteen moons. The moons are a celestial symbol of motherhood.

Turtle Symbol

The Mother Symbol - Cactus and Maternal Love
The Mother Symbol might also be conveyed via a combination of the Native American symbol for a woman and the cactus. The woman symbol is self explanatory but the cactus symbol needs and explanation. The cactus plant symbolizes warmth, endurance and protection. The yellow cactus flower is a symbol of maternal love because it can endure and thrive in harsh conditions and therefore symbolic of the unconditional and enduring love and protection of a mother. The protective qualities of the mother are conveyed by the cactus flower due to its medicine. The pulp and juice was used to treat numerous wounds and sickness such as inflammations of the digestive and urinary tracts. 

Yellow Cactus Flower

Yellow Cactus Flower (Opuntia - Eastern Prickly Pear)

The Mother Symbol is a Pictogram
The Mother symbol is in a fact a cross between a pictogram and a symbol. A pictogram, also called a pictograph, conveys a story and meaning through pictures that signify and resemble the shapes of physical objects or people. An Ideagram is another form of pictogram which conveys complex ideas, feelings and emotions. A pictogram, such as the one recognised as a Mother symbol, is a therefore a form of writing which uses representational, pictorial drawings to tell a story.


Native American Pictogram - Symbols depicting migration of animals and the Nomadic family units

Mother and Child inside a lodge

Mother and Child inside a lodge

Apache Hide Painting

Mother Symbol and Pictogram
The religion of Native Americans was dominated by rituals and belief in a spiritual connection with nature and these beliefs were reflected in the various symbols and pictograms they used such as the Mother symbol. 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, refer to
Color Meanings & Symbolism, and designs depending on the natural resources available to make Native American paint.  His belongings was decorated with art and included symbols depicting his achievements, acts of heroism, his various spirit guides or the most important events in his life and included the Mother symbol or pictogram. Every symbol used by an American Native Indian had meaning.

Turtle Symbol
Woman SymbolTurtle Symbol

 The Mother Symbol


  • The Mother symbol of Native Americans
  • Meaning, symbolism and interpretation of the Mother symbol
  • Interesting facts and info for kids and schools
  • Pictures, meanings, patterns and designs of symbols
  • Native American Mother symbol meaning

Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Mother. Discover the vast selection of pictures which relate to the History of Native Americans and illustrate many symbols used by American Indians. The pictures show the clothing, 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 and videos to accompany the main topic of this section - Mother. The videos enable fast access to the images, paintings and pictures together with information and many historical facts. All of the articles and pages can be accessed via the Native Indian Tribes Index - a great educational resource for kids.


Mother - Teaching resource - Teachers - Kids - Native American Symbols - Indian Symbols - Symbolism - Symbolize - Interpretation - American Symbols and Designs - Indian - Meaning - Symbolism - Symbolize - Interpretation - Meanings - Info - Information - Kids - Pictures - Signs - Emblem - Icon - Pictogram - Pictograms - Children - Patterns - Designs - Homework - Picture Writing - Traditions - American Symbols - Reference - Tribes - Tribe - Guide - Tattoos - History - Writing - Signs - Pictographs - Indigenous - Ancient - Pictures - Pictures of American Symbols - Images- Emblem - Icon - Pictogram - Pictograms - Mother - Written By Linda Alchin

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