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A touch of traditional class from the Pacific Northwest

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Symbols

explain native symbols

† Here are a few of the symbols attached to specific animals and others.

The Raven

The Raven is associated with creation and knowledge.   Similar to Loki, this sly bird is known for both mischief and as the bringer of light to humanity. The legend of the Raven says that in a mythical time, a greedy sky tribe captured and hid the sun away - leaving the human race in darkness.  At this time Raven was white as snow.  To relieve the misery of the human tribe, Raven flew down a chimney to retrieve the sun.  After putting the sun back in place, black soot was embedded in his feathers, leaving him permanently black.  While Raven sacrificed his beautiful color for humanity, there are also many stories of how the ravenís mischievous nature got the best of him.

The Eagle

Eagles are traditionally associated with traits such as great strength, leadership and incredible prestige.† In Indian societies Eagles are known as the messenger of the Creator and are† placed high regard.  Their habit of soaring at great heights led Indian people to think of Eagles as the carriers of prayers to the Creator.† Eagle down is scattered before honoured guests during entrance to dances and other important ceremonies. An eagle feather is considered a lucky token to both the presenter and the receiver.

The Hummingbird

In Indian societies it was commonly associated with love, beauty and intelligence.† They are regarded as spirit messengers.  These brilliantly coloured, fast birds grace the West Coast during the early Summer months.

The Bear

The Bear is a symbol of power, strength and healing.  The Bear is held in high respect by all, as it is beloved as an elder family member of the human race.
When hunted and killed the body of the bear was generally taken to the chief's dwelling and showered in eagle down, which is a gracious symbol of welcoming friendship.

The Frog

Most tribes considered the frog to be a successful communicator and an honoured keeper of tradition. Among many West Coast tribes, the Frog heralds in spring and new life. Frogs would be carved on house poles and totem poles to bring good fortune to the building and to ensure it would not collapse.

The Thunderbird

Among West Coast Indians, the Thunderbird symbolizes Mystical Power and Leadership.  A mythical creature that inhabited the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.† The Thunderbird was said to have a wing span of two war canoes and destroyed enemies with bolts of lightening.  This legendary great bird traditionally preyed upon Killer Whales, which once caught, were taken up to the mountain nest to feed the bird and its offspring.

The Sun

In Northwest Native culture the sun is known to provide the earth with healing energy and life. According to most tribal legends the raven stole the sun from an evil tribe, who had hidden it away for themselves. He then placed it in the sky, where it remains until today for all to enjoy.

The Moon

The moon has a very prominent role in Northwest Native legend. Viewed as the protector of the people during the night, his nightly appearance was very important. It was thought that when a solar eclipse occurred a giant fish was actually swallowing the moon. For their very survival they would start an enormous bonfire and throw as much green or wet wood into it as possible. This would create such a smoke plum that the fish would cough up the moon and put him back in his place.

The Wolf

Generally perceived to emit intelligence, individualism and leadership they are also seen as pathfinders. Known for their family values, wolves mate for life. Always on top of new ideas, the wolf is also a patient teacher.

The Killer Whale/ Orca

The killer whale is commonly associated with beauty and power. Frequently regarded as a traveller and a guardian, killer whales are thought to be closely related to humans. One tribe even believes that killer whales are their reincarnated ancestors.

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