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Native American Symbols/Petroglyphs & Meanings

Although it would be quite impossible to tell which Native American symbol meant what and where as the interpretation changed depending on the case and the person creating those symbols, here are the most common general interpretations regarding Native American symbols and their meanings:

  • The arrow symbolizes protection
  • The arrowhead symbolizes alertness
  • The badger track is the symbol for the season of summertime
  • The bear is the symbol for strength
  • The bear paw is the symbol for a good omen
  • The big mountain is the symbol for abundance
  • The bird is the symbol for carefreeness
  • The broken arrow symbolizes peace
  • The broken cross circle symbolizes the four revolving seasons
  • The brothers represent loyalty, unity, and equality
  • The buffalo horns represent success
  • The buffalo skull represents reverence for life and sacredness
  • The butterfly represents eternal life
  • The cactus is the symbol for the desert
  • The coyote/coyote tracks symbolize a trickster
  • The crossed arrows are the symbol for friendship
  • The day/night symbols refer to the passing of time
  • The deer tracks symbol indicate that game is plentiful in that area
  • The drawn bow/arrow is the symbol for hunting
  • The drying rack indicates that meat is plentiful
  • The eagle symbolizes freedom
  • The eagle feather is the symbol for the Chief
  • The enclosure symbol is used to indicate ceremonial dances
  • The end of the trail is used to symbolize the end of war and beginning of peaceful period
  • The evil eye is the symbol that is used as a protection from the curse of the evil eye
  • The facing arrows indicate the warding off of evil spirits
  • The four ages are used as a symbol for the four stages of life: infancy, youth, middle age, and old age
  • The gecko symbolizes the desert
  • The Gila monster symbolizes the time for dreaming
  • The headdress is the ceremonial symbol
  • The Hogan is the symbol indicating a permanent home
  • The horse is used to symbolize a journey
  • Lightening is used to symbolize speed and power
  • The man is used to indicate life
  • The medicine man’s eye is used to symbolize wisdom
  • The morning stars are used to symbolize guidance
  • The mountain range is used to symbolize a destination
  • The peace pipe is used to symbolize a sacred ceremony
  • Rain is used to indicate a crop that is plentiful
  • Rain clouds are used to indicate a good prospect
  • The rattlesnake jaws are used to indicate strength
  • The saddlebag is another symbol that is used to indicate a journey
  • The snake is used as a symbol of defiance
  • The squash blossom and the sunflower are both used to symbolize fertility
  • The sun is used to symbolize happiness
  • The sun rays are used to indicate constancy
  • The swastika is used as a symbol for well-being and the four corners of the world
  • The thunderbird is used to symbolize calling for rain and unending happiness; thunderbird tracks are used to symbolize a bright prospect
  • The wolf paw is used as a symbol for success and freedom
  • The Zuni bear is used as a symbol for good health