Symbolism and Expression Additional Reading

Symbolism

First Nations Symbols and Their Meanings

The following are examples of major First Nations symbols:

The eagle is a symbol of truth, power, and freedom as it roams the sky. Its wings represent the balance between male and female, each dependent upon the strengths and abilities of the other. When one holds the eagle feather, one must speak the truth as positively as one can, for the ear of the Creator is that much closer to the feather of the eagle. Therefore, First Nations people honour the feather of the eagle with great care, showing it respect and honesty at all times. To be given an eagle feather is the highest honour that can be awarded within First Nations culture.

 

The buffalo symbolizes subsistence, strength and the ability to survive.

 

The bear symbolizes strength, endurance, intelligence, and loyalty.

 

The rock symbolizes strength and endurance, and it holds the spirits of the ancestors.

 

The drum is a powerful symbol of Aboriginal identity and represents
the heartbeat of Mother Earth.