What is the The Meaning Behind the Symbols of Native American Tattoos?

Native american tattoo

For thousands of years people have used their bodies as a canvas where they could express their beliefs and personality. It is interesting that the meanings of one particular tattoo can be diametrically opposed in different cultures. For instance, the dragon tattoo in Asian culture refers to wisdom, progress and welfare, while the same tattoo design in western cultures symbolizes evil and oppression.

Throughout history of humankind, for many cultures tattoos were marks of machismo, symbols of boys becoming men. Among Native Americans tattoos were used to distinguish great warriors from other members of the tribe. Tradition of the American Indian tribes shows that men tattooed weapons on their bodies, while the female members of tribes tattooed labor tools.

Today it is pretty common to tattoo the name of your loved one, while back in the days the Native Americans tattooed their own names. There are numerous traditional Native American tattoo designs, so before you decide which tattoo you want, you have to learn their meanings.

One of the most popular tattoos in the Native American history is a feather tattoo design. People who choose a feather for their tattoo want to show their Native American tradition and heritage. American Indians believe that feather is sacred, thus they can be insulted if someone who is not an Indian or doesn’t have their roots wears a feather tattoo.

The meaning of a feather tattoo can vary. As being a symbol of air, it’s related to cleverness, soul, communication and spirit. Some people believe that the feather tattoo refers to flight, freedom, a feeling of total disburdenment, like in the old saying “free as a bird”. Feathers were used in spiritual rituals to improve communication between this world and the other side, so this tattoo design carries a spiritual significance as well. The eagle feather symbolizes faith, courage and honor.

Depending on the color of the feather, tattoos hold different meanings. White feather is a sign of innocence, red feather is a mark of love and desire, yellow and orange feathers symbolize wisdom. In Native American mythology feathers are usually a component of the ‘dream catcher’. It is believed that dream catcher lets the good in, keeps the bad out and protects from bad dreams.

Tattoo of the bear paw, according to Native Americans, corresponds to strength and direction. Some of the tribes believed that death comes over person’s left shoulder, so they used to put a bear paw tattoo on that part of the body.

In Native American culture, the lone wolf symbolizes courage, power, individuality, loyalty and liberty. Many people are attracted to the “howling at the moon” tattoo design. Also, wolf tattoo can represent compassion, sympathy and devotion.

Well known traditional Indian tattoos are those with bold colors and abstract shapes. These old school designs include blue or black outlines often filled with solid red and green with rare additions of blue, yellow, brown and purple.
If you want to pay tribute to staggering culture of the Native Americans or you are a great fan of Carlos Castaneda, these tattoos are perfect for you.

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2 Responses to Native American Tattoos – The Meaning Behind the Symbols

  1. Lizobo says:

    I really appreciated the meaning of the Native American tattoos designs, thanks for the effort and for all the informations, cause in fact I can tell you that you’re right for what I know of my own Native roots.

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