Scalp Symbol

Scalp Symbols

The Scalp Symbols

Native American Symbols, like the Scalp 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 used by Native American Indians in our List of Symbols including the Scalp symbol.

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Native American Symbols
Native Indian Tribes Index

Meaning of the Scalp 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 Scalp symbol.
Native American symbols are geometric portrayals of celestial bodies, natural phenomena and animal designs. The meaning of the Scalp symbol was to signify that scalps had been taken. The following image shows an example of Delaware Tribe picture writing and the scalp symbol which indicates that scalps have been taken.

Delaware Tribe picture writing

The meanings of the other symbols are as follows:

  • Number 1 represents the oldest and main branch of the Delaware tribe by its ancient symbol, the tortoise. The eleven crosses or figures arranged below the tortoise denote the number of persons who were either killed or taken prisoners by this chief
  • Number 2  is the totem, or armorial badge, of Wingemund, denoting him to be the chief
  • Number 3 is the sun; the ten horizontal strokes beneath it denote the number of war-parties in which this chief had participated
  • Number 4 represents men's scalps
  • Number 5 represents women's scalps
  • Number 6 represents male prisoners
  • Number 7 represents female prisoners
  • Number 8 represents a small fort situated on the banks of Lake Erie, which was taken by the Indians in 1762, by surprise
  • Number 9 represents the fort at Detroit, which, in 1763, resisted a siege of three months
  • Number 10 is Fort Pitt
  • Number 11 is a nearby town
  • The twenty-three nearly vertical strokes at the foot of the inscription indicate the strength of the chieftain's party.

The Scalp Symbol is a Pictogram
The Scalp symbol is in a fact a pictogram. 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 Scalp symbol, is a therefore a form of writing which uses representational, pictorial drawings to tell a story.

Cheyenne Pictogram illustrating a battle

Cheyenne Pictogram illustrating a battle
Apache Hide Painting

Scalp 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 Scalp 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 Scalp symbol or pictogram. Every symbol used by an American Native Indian had meaning which can be accessed from Symbols and Meanings.

Scalp Symbols

The Scalp Symbol


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

Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Scalp. 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 - Scalp. 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.


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

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