Native American tribes are numerous throughout our lands. Animal symbolism may vary from tribe to tribe. Following are some basic attributes of animals from blue jay to buffalo.
The Blue Jay is inquisitive and often aggressive. It can be a noisy little critter when competition for food is in it’s territory. It also will scream and chase away predatory birds in it’s area, like owls and hawks. Blue Jays are quite fearless and know their rights. Blue Jays are very adaptable and not picky about their nesting location. If they cannot build their cup-shaped nest in a tree, they will choose whatever they think is a suitable, temporary arrangement, like an empty nest of another bird, or even a mail box.
Symbolism: knowledge of power, adaptability, fearless, aggressive, resourceful
The Boar is a very powerful totem. It is the ancestor of the domestic hog. It has amazing strength and is quite fearless. It will attack and chase away an animal much larger and more dangerous than itself. Boars are invasive to the environment, digging, rooting, and eating almost anything from dusk to dawn, taking short rests now and then. If threatended it will defend itself or young with intensive vigor. Their tusks can cause severe wounds to their enemies.
Symbolism: intense power and spiritual strength, self-reliant, fearless
Like most cats, the bobcat is territorial and largely solitary. Although bobcats have been hunted extensively by humans, both for sport and fur, their population has proven resilient. Bobcat activities are confined to well-defined territories, which vary in size depending on gender and the distribution of prey. The bobcat is an exceptionally adaptable animal. It prefers woodlands, but does not depend exclusively on the deep forest. It ranges from the humid swamps of Florida to desert lands of Texas or rugged mountain areas.
Symbolism: independent, solitary, cautious, sensuality
The Buffalo is a very sacred animal to many Native Americans. In the Lakota legends, it was the White Buffalo Calf Woman who brought the Sacred Pipe to the people. The Buffalo is massive and has extraordinary strength. Encountering one in real life or in visions is a profound experience.
Buffalo were once abundant and travelled in massive herds over much of North America. The bulls are very protective of the cows and calves. When fleeing wolves in open areas, cows with young calves take the lead, while bulls take to the rear of the herds, to guard the cows’ escape.
The Buffalo provided many tribes with their survival needs. The hide was used for clothing, shelter, bags, moccasins. The meat provided nourishment and was eaten fresh or dried. The bones were made into tools and beads. The skull was used in sacred ceremonies. Nothing was taken from the Buffalo without intense prayers of thanks and gratitude for it’s sacrifice.
Symbolism: Abundance, prayer, spiritual blessings, sacredness, life, great strength, gratitude.