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INDIGENOUS Symbols & Meanings

Bear braceletBear

Bear represents strength and the possession of many human qualities.
Bear is referred to as the “Elder Kinsman” and is of high ranking.

(Artist: Jim McGuire, Haida)

Beaver ring Beaver

Beaver is known for determination, creativity and hard work
– the symbol of a carver and builder.

(Artist: Benita Wadhams, Kwagiulth)


Symbol of transformation, metamorphosis.

(Artist: Nancy Dawson, Kwagiutlh)


A northland wilderness symbol of self-esteem.

(Artist: Benita Wadhams, Kwagiulth)


Life force. Bringer of power and control. Symbol of kindness and playfulness.

(Artist: Richard Shorty, Southern Tushony Nation)


Symbol of ever-changing life.

(Artist: Maynard Johnny Jr., Salish and Kwa kwa k’wak)


Eagle is the symbol of power and prestige. Eagle down is a sign of welcome.
Eagle represents peace and friendship, and is a spiritual guide.

(Artist: Van Joseph, Coast Salish)


The eagle feather is the symbol of peace, friendship and good luck.

(Artist: Vincent Henson, Kwa kwa k’wak)

frog Frog

Frog is the symbol of good luck and happiness.
Frog is the voice of the people and represents innocence.

(Artist: Clarence Mills, Haida)


Heron represents a patient, graceful and easy going nature.


hummingbird ring Hummingbird

The messenger of spirit and bearer of good news.
Hummingbird brings comfort and healing.

(Artist: Nancy Dawson, Kwagiutlh)


A direction sign that points the way in a land with few natural landmarks.

(Artist: Eric Lester, Inuit)


Symbol of luck, patience, speed and agility.


loon ringLoon

The symbol of peace, mystique and tranquility.

(Artist: Fred Moyer, Tahltan)

man maskMan Mask

Also called “Portrait Mask”, it is used in elaborate dance ceremonies
to portray certain characteristics of one’s personality.

(Artist: Corey Bulpitt, Haida)


Moon watches over us and is the protector and guardian of the Earth.
Moon is the keeper of time and has the ability to change our moods.

(Artist: Benita Wadhams, Kwagiulth)

killer whaleorca WHALE

orca WHALE is the guardian of the sea and the symbol of longevity.
IT is a guide and close relation to humankind.

(Artist: Corrine Hunt, Komoyue and Tlingit)

otter ringOtter

Trusting, inquisitive and bright, Otter symbolizes loyal friendship.

(Artist: Benita Wadhams, Kwagiulth)


Owl is the link to the spirit world. Owl is the traveler by night,
the silent knowledgeable one.

(Artist: Benita Wadhams, Kwagiulth)

potlach spoon earringsPotlatch Spoon

Symbol of the potlatch spirit – the spirit of sharing, giving and nurturing.

(Artist: Brent Campbell, Kwagiulth)


Raven is the transformer, the Creator. It is the symbol of knowledge and wisdom,                                                                                         the most important creature who can make anything happen.

(Artist: Fred Moyer, Tahltan)


Salmon is the source of life and provider of food.
Salmon represents fertility and good health. Humans depend upon Salmon greatly.

(Artist: Richard Shorty, Southern Tushony Nation)


Seal represents a bright, inquisitive and organized nature.

(Artist: Benita Wadhams, Kwagiutlh)


Spiritual guide, healer. Often the most respected and wisest person of the clan,
the Shaman is the doctor, priest and counselor all in one.

(Artist: Benita Wadhams, Kwagiulth)


Double headed sea creature. Most powerful of the health symbols.

(Artist: Benita Wadhams, Kwagiulth)

sun earringsSun

Sun is the source of power, including creative power.
It is the Earth’s healing energy, connected to Earth by Sun’s long rays.

(Artist: Vincent Henson, Kwa kwa k’wak)


Most powerful of all symbols that personifies the “chief”                                                                                                                                                        and symbolizes strength and respect. Thunderbird controls the thunder.

(Artist: Fred Moyer, Tahltan)


Giant mythological being of the forest. Bringer of wealth and good fortune.

(Artist: Benita Wadhams, Kwagiulth)


The smart hunter and provider, symbolizing family and togetherness –
one of the few creatures that mates for life.

(Artist: Fred Moyer, Tahltan)