Native american symbols

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Grades 5-8


  • 1. There are many Native American symbols used in legends and stories Here a few of them.
  • 2. Bear Claws *represent healing *also represent a medicine used in healing
  • 3. Feathers *represent strength and courage
  • 4. Buffalo *a symbol of abundance (It was the meat of the buffalo that fed the people, the hides that provided clothing and shelter, the bones and sinew provided tools of survival.)
  • 5. Eagle Courage, Spirit, and Bravery Eagles are the masters of the skies. (Many tribes have identified the eagle as the one closest to the Creator.)
  • 6. Wolf Teaching, A Guide to the Sacred Wolves have been long regarded by Native Americans as teachers or pathfinders. Wolves are fiercely loyal to their mates, and have a strong sense of family.
  • 7. Deer Graceful gentleness, and Sensitivity Deer blend very well with their environment but are very sensitive to every sound or movement.
  • 8. Dog Loyalty and Protection Man's best friend...
  • 9. Oral Traditions: The Native American tribes had no written language. Knowledge had to be passed on by word of mouth - stories, legends, poems, songs, myths, dramas, rituals, proverbs, and riddles.
  • 10. Why the Buffalo has a Hump Long ago, the Buffalo didn't have any hump. In the summer he would race across the prairies for fun, and the Foxes would run in front of him and tell all the little animals to get out of the way because the Buffalo was coming. They didn't know that Wenebojo was watching them. So the Buffalo raced across the prairies. There were little birds nesting on the ground and the Buffalo raced over them and tramped their nests. The little birds cried out and told him not to go near their nests, but Buffalo didn't listen to them and ran right over them. The birds were sad and kept crying about their spoiled nests. Wenebojo heard them and he ran ahead of the Buffalo and Foxes and stopped them. With a stick, he hit the Buffalo on the shoulders, and the Buffalo hung his head and humped up his shoulders because he was afraid that Wenebojo would hit him with the stick again. But Wenebojo just said "You should be ashamed. You will always have a hump on your shoulder, and always carry your head low because of your shame." The Foxes were also afraid of Wenebojo and ran away and dug holes in the ground where they hid. And Wenebojo said to them "And you, Foxes, you will always live in the cold ground for hurting the birds." And that is why the Buffalo have humps, and why the Foxes have holes in the ground for their homes.
  • 11. Once upon a time a prairie mouse busied herself all fall storing away a cache of beans. Every morning she was out early with her empty cast-off snake skin, which she filled with ground beans and dragged home with her teeth. The little mouse had a cousin who was fond of dancing and talk, but who did not like to work. She was not careful to get her cache of beans and the season was already well gone before she thought to bestir herself. When she came to realize her need, she found she had no packing bag. So she went to her hardworking cousin and said: "Cousin, I have no beans stored for winter and the season is nearly gone. But I have no snake skin to gather the beans in. Will you lend me one?" "But why have you no packing bag? Where were you in the moon when the snakes cast off their skins?" "I was here." "What were you doing?" "I was busy talking and dancing." "And now you are punished," said the other. "It is always so with lazy, careless people. But I will let you have the snake skin. And now go, and by hard work and industry, try to recover your wasted time."
  • 12. Why the Porcupine has Quills Long, long ago, the Porcupines had no quills. One day, a Porcupine was out in the woods. A Bear came along and would have eaten Porcupine, but he managed to get up a tree where the Bear couldn't get him. The next day Porcupine was out again and he went underneath a hawthorn tree, and he noticed how the thorns pricked him. He broke some branches off and put them on his back, then he went into the woods. Along came Bear and he jumped on Porcupine, who just curled himself up. The Bear just left him alone because the thorns pricked him so much. Wenebojo was watching them. He called to Porcupine and asked "How did you think of that trick?" Porcupine told him that he was in danger when Bear was around. Then Wenebojo took some thorns and peeled the bark off of them until they were all white. Then he got some clay and put it all over Porcupine's back and stuck the thorns in it. Wenebojo used his magic to make it into a proper skin, and told Porcupine come with him into the woods. When they got there, Wenebojo hid behind a tree. Wolf came along and saw Porcupine and jumped on him, but the new quills pricked at him and Wolf ran away. Bear was also afraid of the quills and Porcupine was safe. That is why Porcupines have quills.