native american symbols

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In wake of DAPL executive order, Trump hangs Andrew Jackson painting in Oval Office

  • Trump has signed two executive orders to expedite the review of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.
  • The construction of these pipelines would likely contaminate Native Americans’ drinking water and cost them their lives.
  • Along with Trump’s decision to push forward with the pipelines — a literal representation of his disregard for the health and well-being of Native Americans — came a symbolic one.
  • According to the New York Times, Trump had a portrait of Andrew Jackson — the president responsible for the Indian Removal Act and consequently the Trail of Tears — installed in the Oval Office on Tuesday.
  • Trump and his administration consider Jackson the first populist president and, therefore, an idol. Read more

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Braids Symbolizing Healing & Hair-touching Boundaries

@lanewilliam asked:

First, my main character came from a neglectful facility, where her hair became very matted and tangled, and her adoptive family cleaned and braided it. So her braids become associated with healing, nurturing love and chosen family. Is this an appropriate use of her hair in the story? Are there pitfalls I should be careful of?  Second, I’m looking for advice on other characters touching her hair. Should I be careful about having close friends, family and love interests touch her hair? Does it matter whether those people are Black or White? Or is it fine so long as it’s an appropriate to the relationship (mischievous sister pulling it, father patting it, lover stroking it, etc) as opposed to coming from a creepy stranger?

I don’t see a problem with this, as you’re giving braids a positive association. Remember her hair doesn’t need to be braided in order to be positively associated, though, and just having clean hair is enough. But I’m just throwing that out there; it’d be a bit of a reach to pull a negative association out of her getting braids after this situation. It doesn’t need to be bigger than it is.

Do consider her head would likely be tender and fragile after that much neglect, so braids aren’t the best option to jump right into as it would likely lead to breakage, especially on the weaker edges. Perhaps there’s a rest given before she gets her hair braided, or it’s braided very gently.

Idea: You could also focus on her hair being properly washed with natural hair-friendly shampoo/conditioner or cleaning conditioner (i assume at this neglectful facility, if she had shampoo it was some cheap kind or chemical-laden one that damages Black hair) and detangled, deep conditioned, moisturized…overall just being cared for properly. Again just ideas of some of the things that might go into her hair being cared for. I’m glad you’re showing aspects of her hair being cared for, and It doesn’t necessarily all need to be on-stage.

As for having others touch her hair, it would depend on the character on what she accepts or not. It’s more about trust and the established relationship as you said. 

I’m definitely in on avoiding having strangers or rather anyone she’s not close to sticking their hands in her hair unchecked, but that goes for closer relationships as well. Having a little sister pull it would likely be annoying regardless, but if she’s sensitive it might be a bigger deal. That’s something you’ll want to work out in her character. 

A lover stroking it, father patting it, are all loving things that she may allow the other party because it’s affectionate and they’re close vs. an evasive act of curiosity or entitlement. 

Lesya has more on positive braiding symbolism!

~Mod Colette

A similar concept exists in the Native-written ballet Going Home Star, which is about two modern Natives reconciling the residential school system. The main characters end up journeying through the past to expose what happened in residential schools (the male main character as a survivor of the schools and ran away, but faces the possibility he could have easily been killed; the female main character is a Native disenfranchised from her identity who reconnects) and explore their historical culture, even though they had lost it in modern day.

After they’ve exposed the depths of the wounds that occurred in residential schools, they are finally able to start rebuilding. The visual symbol of this rebuilding is her braiding his hair. Considering one of the first things residential schools did to Native children was to cut their braids (and one of the flashbacks to the residential school showed a girl getting her hair shorn), this was an incredibly meaningful gesture. 

You might want to consider this type of care and trust, with what Colette said. Braids are involved, intimate and extremely culturally bound, so an arc off healing and reconnecting wouldn’t be out of place at all. It would probably be quite cathartic for the Black character, and probably Black readers— I know I sobbed my eyes out, seeing myself reflected back and being given so much hope I could still find my culture even after losing it generations ago.

~ Mod Lesya

CobraCult Jewelry // “Brightest Flame, Darkest Shadow” // Winter Lookbook
Photographer: Amanda Leigh Smith
Models: Rachel Krantz & Jessica Ilalaole
Styling: Tashina Hill
Hair & Makeup:Brooke Burgess & Rachel Krantz
Produced by: Jessica Ilalaole
Art Director & Roduction Assistan: Claire Everson

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You sat cross legged on the couch next to Bucky, your lips pursed as you added the finishing touches to his arm, his eyes watching you an amused smile on his lips.

“And…done.” You said, pulling the brush away.

“What did you paint?” Bucky asked, shifting the arm a little to look at it, glad to see the star was painted over with a different symbol. “What is that?” He asked chuckling lightly.

“It’s the Native American symbol. For good luck, because knowing you, you need as much as you can get.” You teased as he smiled, glancing to you, nodding.

“Not when I have you by my side.” He said, leaning over, pecking your lips.

“Especially with me by your side.”

Kokopelli Tattoos & Designs

There are very few Native American symbols that are as familiar to Westerners as that of the Kokopelli. This hunched, dancing prankster with wild hair is often considered cute for tourists and he has become synonymous with states like Nevada and Arizona, where the tribes that created the Kokopelli symbol originally settled.

Native American Animal: Bear

When we walk the Path with the bear, this animal will inevitably tell us about its long history with the First People of North America.
As a Native American symbol, the bear is as free in spirit as the great wind; and grander than its mass. To match that magnitude is the quality of unpredictability in the bear. A massive animal who forages seemingly peacefully in the woods on berries and bush. when provoked in certain ways, the First Peoples witnessed a ferocity expressed from the bear that (understandably) could elicited terror.

I understand that Isi’s design is pretty much a hodge podge of “Native American symbols” and that it’s incredibly shitty that they’re taking from a bunch of unrelated tribes because “who can be arsed to actually do the research, native is native.” Right?

But at the same time, I will scratch someone’s eyes out if it means I can get my hands on this doll. Because Native American women are grossly underrepresented in the mainstream media and this is the closest I’ve ever had to representation in the form of a doll. Fight me.

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Kokopelli Mug🌙

Kokopelli is a Hopi word, roughly meaning wood hump-back. The Kokopelli is a Hopi symbol of fertility, replenishment, music, dance, and mischief. He is a flute-playing hump-backed fertility God, prankster, Healer and story teller. There are many legends that surround him, and ancient rock carvings and paintings depicting him date back beyond 3,000 years ago.

(indigenouspeople.net)

Native American animal symbols can encompass just about all the animals, and their symbolic representation to the many tribes of the Americas. To narrow down the focus a bit, this page is devoted to birth animals – or zodiac animals.

Many Native American cultures have the belief that a person is assigned an animal upon the time of birth. Below are interpreted Native American symbols of the zodiac and the characteristics for each one.
Otter: Jan 20 – Feb 18

A little quirky, and unorthodox, the Otter is a hard one to figure sometimes. Perceived as unconventional, the Otter methods aren’t the first ones chosen to get the job done. This is a big mistake on the part of others – because although unconventional, the Otter’s methods are usually quite effective.

Yes, the Otter has unusual way of looking at things, but he/she is equipped with a brilliant imagination and intelligence, allowing him/her an edge over every one else. Often very perceptive and intuitive, the Otter makes a very good friend, and can be very attentive.

In a nurturing environment the Otter is sensitive, sympathetic, courageous, and honest. Left to his/her own devices, the Otter can be unscrupulous, lewd, rebellious, and isolated.

Wolf: Feb 19 – Mar 20

Deeply emotional, and wholly passionate, the Wolf is the lover of the zodiac in both the physical and philosophical sense of the word. The Wolf understands that all we need is love, and is fully capable of providing it.

Juxtaposed with his/her fierce independence – this Native American animal symbol is a bit of a contradiction in terms. Needing his/her freedom, yet still being quite gentle and compassionate – we get the picture of the “lone wolf” with this sign.

In a nurturing environment the Wolf is intensely passionate, generous, deeply affectionate, and gentle. Left to his/her own devices the Wolf can become impractical, recalcitrant, obsessive, and vindictive.

Falcon: Mar 21 – Apr 19

A natural born leader, the Falcon can always be looked upon for clear judgment in sticky situations. Furthermore, the characteristics for this Native American animal symbol never wastes time, rather he/she strikes while the iron is hot, and takes action in what must be done.

Ever persistent, and always taking the initiative, the Falcon is a gem of a personality to have for projects or team sports. The Falcon can be a little on the conceited side – but he/she is usually right in his/her opinions – so a little arrogance is understood.

In a supportive environmental the Falcon “soars” in his/her ability to maintain passion and fire in relationships, and always remaining compassionate. Left to his/her own devices, the Falcon can be vain, rude, intolerant, impatient, and over-sensitive.

Beaver: Apr 20 – May 20

Take charge, adapt, overcome – this is the Beaver motto. Mostly business, the Beaver is gets the job at hand done with maximum efficiency and aplomb. Strategic, and cunning the Beaver is a force to be reckoned with in matters of business and combat.

One might also think twice about engaging the Beaver in a match of wits – as his/her mental acuity is razor sharp. The Beaver has everything going for him/her – however tendencies toward “my way or the highway” get them in trouble.

Yes, they are usually right, but the bearer of this Native American animal symbol may need to work on tact. In a nurturing environment the Beaver can be compassionate, generous, helpful, and loyal. Left to his/her own devices the Beaver can be nervous, cowardly, possessive, arrogant, and over-demanding.

Deer: May 21 – Jun 20

This Native American animal symbol is the muse of the zodiac. The Deer is inspiring lively and quick-witted. With a tailor-made humor, the Deer has a tendency to get a laugh out of anyone. Excellent ability for vocalizing, the Deer is a consummate conversationalist.

This combined with his/her natural intelligence make the Deer a must-have guest at dinner parties. Always aware of his/her surroundings, and even more aware of his/her appearance, the Deer can be a bit self-involved. However, the Deer’s narcissism is overlooked because of his/her congeniality and affability.

In a supportive environment the Deer’s natural liveliness and sparkly personality radiate even more. He/she is an inspiring force in any nurturing relationship. Left to his/her own devices the Deer can be selfish, moody, impatient, lazy, and two-faced.

Woodpecker: Jun 21 – Jul 21

Woodpeckers are usually the most nurturing of all the Native American animal symbols. The consummate listener, totally empathic and understanding, the Woodpecker is the one to have on your side when you need support.

Of course, they make wonderful parents, and equally wonderful friends and partners. Another proverbial feather in the Woodpeckers cap is the tendency to be naturally frugal, resourceful, and organized.

In a nurturing environment the Woodpecker is of course caring, devoted, and very romantic. Left to his/her own devices the Woodpecker can be possessive, angry, jealous, and spiteful.

Salmon: Jul 22 – Aug 21

Electric, focused, intuitive, and wholly creative, the Salmon is a real live-wire. His/her energy is palpable. A natural motivator, the Salmon’s confidence and enthusiasm is easily infectious.

Soon, everybody is onboard with the Salmon – even if the idea seems too hair-brained to work. Generous, intelligent, and intuitive, it’s no wonder why the Salmon has no shortage of friends. This Native American animal symbol expresses a need for purpose and goals, and has no trouble finding volunteers for his/her personal crusades.

In a supportive environment, the Salmon is stable, calm, sensual, and giving. Left to his/her own devices, those that bear this Native American animal symbol can be egotistical, vulgar, and intolerant of others.

Bear: Aug 22 – Sep 21

Pragmatic, and methodical the Bear is the one to call when a steady hand is needed. The Bear’s practicality and level-headedness makes him/her an excellent business partner. Usually the voice of reason in most scenarios, the Bear is a good balance for Owls. The Bear is also gifted with an enormous heart, and a penchant for generosity.

However, one might not know it as the Bear tends to be very modest, and a bit shy. In a loving environment this Native American animal symbol showers love and generosity in return.

Further, the Bear has a capacity for patience and temperance, which makes him/her excellent teachers and mentors. Left to his/her own devices the bear can be skeptical, sloth, small-minded and reclusive.

Raven: Sep 22 – Oct 22

Highly enthusiastic, and a natural entrepreneur, the Crow is quite a charmer. But he/she doesn’t have to work at being charming – it comes easily. Everyone recognizes the Crow’s easy energy, and everyone turns to the Crow for his/her ideas and opinions.

This is because the Crow is both idealistic and diplomatic and is quite ingenious. In nurturing environments this Native American animal symbol is easy-going, can be romantic, and soft-spoken. Further, the crow can be quite patient, and intuitive in relationships.

Left to his/her own devices, the Crow can be demanding, inconsistent, vindictive, and abrasive.

Snake: Oct 23 – Nov 22

Most shamans are born under this Native American animal symbol. The Snake is a natural in all matters of spirit. Easily attuned to the ethereal realm the Snake makes an excellent spiritual leader. Also respected for his/her healing capacities, the Snake also excels in medical professions.

The Snake’s preoccupation with matters intangible often lead others to view them as mysterious, and sometimes frightening. True, the Snake can be secretive, and a bit dark – he/she is also quite sensitive, and caring.

In a supportive relationship the cool Snake can be passionate, inspiring, humorous, and helpful. Left to his/her own devices, the Snake can be despondent, violent, and prone to abnormal mood swings.

Owl: Nov 23 – Dec 21

Changeable and mutable as the wind, the Owl is a tough one to pin down. Warm, natural, with an easy-going nature, the Owl is friend to the world. The bearer of this Native American animal symbol is notorious for engaging in life at full speed, and whole-hearted loves adventure.

This can be to his/her detriment as the Owl can be reckless, careless, and thoughtless. Owls make great artists, teachers, and conservationists. However, due to his/her adaptability and versatility – the Owl would likely excel in any occupation.

In a supportive, nurturing environment the Owl is sensitive, enthusiastic, and an attentive listener. Left to his/her own devices, the Owl can be excessive, overindulgent, bitter, and belligerent.

Goose: Dec 22 – Jan 19

If you want something done – give it to the Goose. Persevering, dogged, and ambitious to a fault, the Goose sets goals for accomplishment, and always obtains them. The goose is determined to succeed at all cost – not for the approval of other – but those with this Native American animal symbol competes with his/her own internal foe.

Driven is the watchword for the Goose’s dominating personality trait – which makes them excellent in business and competitive sports. When tempered with supportive, nurturing family and friends, the Goose excels in all things he/she attempts.

In a loving environment the Goose can be very passionate, humorous, gregarious, and even sensual. However, lead to his/her own devises, the Goose may fall into obsessive or addictive behaviors that will inevitably be his/her demise.

Ok another question about cultural appropriation

Ok so I really want to get 3 more tattoos. They are Native American symbols. I have researched them, and they are the Thunderbird, Medicine Man’s Eye, and the Sun. I understand this could be cultural appropriation but from what I know and see there isn’t any type of ceremonial significance to these. I plan on asking someone at troop who is Native American. I also understand that apparently my ancestry alone of being Cherokee Indian is not enough, and could still classify as cultural appropriation- right?

Tbh I just wanna understand this a bit more and my last post helped out a lot.

Hopi Symbol of Life

The Tapuat. A Hopi Symbol for Life. After writing the piece on Walking A Labyrinth, I thought it would be a good idea to delve a little deeper into the origins of the labyrinth from an Native North American perspective. Specifically, I’d like to discuss the Tapuat, a Hopi symbol that embodies the philosophy of the labyrinth in a very powerful way.