BC Aboriginal Legends & SymbologyBC Aboriginal Legends & Symbology

The Bear


The Bear has a great self awareness and is also able to deliberate about choices or actions. We look to the Bear to show us how to fish the salmon and collect the berries. The Bear symbolizes family and strength.

The Bear in Northwest West Coastal Native Culture represents strength and learned humility through motherhood and teaching and is an important family crest associated with family and children. Sometime referred to as the protector of the animal kingdom and forests, the Bear is a well respected member of the community and can sometimes be referred to as an elder or a person that has passed on to a new life.

The Beaver


The Beaver has a great understanding of nature and working in harmony with his surroundings.  He is very flexible working towards goals and gaining a sense of achievement.  The beaver symbolizes good work ethics, a strong will and protector, with a strong sense of family.

Beaver is known as the carpenter of the animal kingdom, and is consider the industrious one. The Beaver is said to have been a woman at one time Tsimshian legends tells of this woman who dammed a stream to swim in it. Because she refused to get out, she was transformed and her leather apron became a Beaver's tail.

The Butterfly


The Butterfly has the ability to accept change, is also a messenger to our people. The butterfly symbolizes metamorphosis, balance and grace. The butterfly is a multicultural symbol of the beauty of nature, appearing in numerous examples of nature scenes of many artistic styles.
Butterflies are included as elements of these scenes because they most effectively represent all positive characteristics of nature. 

The Dragonfly


To Northwest Coast Aboriginal peoples, Dragonfly is a symbol of change, transformation and swiftness.
First Nations people of the Northwest coast observe the Dragonfly to be a creature of the wind and also of the water.  He represents a symbol of change in the view of self understanding and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the insight of the deeper meaning of life. The Dragonfly’s swift flight and its ability to move in all six directions radiate a sense of power and poise something that comes only with age and experience.

The Dreamcatcher


When hung over your bed your bad dream are filtered through the web and dissipate into the Universe, your good dreams remain caught in the web and filter down the feathers. Some bad dreams are teaching dreams and they have presented themselves because there are teachings and messages that need to be heard.  Dream Catchers works wonders with restless children.

The Eagle


The Eagle is the ruler of the sky and has the ability to transform himself as he has a connection with our creator.  Eagle symbolizes grace, power, and has great intellectual abilities.  The gift the Eagle shares is the ability of foresight, and an indication of good times to come.
The Eagle is a sacred, wise and noble creature representing power and prestige to the First Nations People of the Northwest Coast.  The Eagle is one of the most utilized birds embodied in their art and mythology and can be a symbol of chieftainship as many families own or inherit the right to use the Eagle crest. 


The Frog


The Frog is a sign to our people to put away the winter activities and prepare or a new season. The frog symbolizes cleansing, peace and rebirth.

In Northwest Aboriginal Culture, a Frog is a great communicator and often represents the common ground or voice of the people.  A Frog embodies magic and good fortune connected with shaman or medicine man and with spiritual and therapeutic cleansing.  Frog's songs are believed to contain divine power and magic.  

The Grizzly Bear & Old Woman Story

Grizzly Bear

The old woman had some dried salmon backbones which had to be soaked along time before they could be eaten.  So she soaked these in the creek which flowed past their little hut.  While they were soaking these in the creek covered with stones, a huge grizzly bear came along and ate the salmon.  Tsak came along and saw the bear eating the last of their food and he was angered and began calling the bear many abusive names, saying the grizzly was a thief.  The huge bear was very angry at the abusive names he was being called and in anger said to Tsak,”if you don’t stop calling me abusive names I’ll swallow you in one gulp.”  “Go ahead swallow me,” said Tsak. 

The Halibut


An abundant food source, the Kwagiulth believed the Halibut threw off its skin and fins to emerge as the first Human after the Great Flood subsided.
The Halibut is a flat fish that starts life swimming in a vertical plan and eventually turns over on its side to become a bottom feeder. The underneath eye moves to the upper side, giving the fish its unique appearance.

The Heron


The Heron is considered to be a very good omen representing grace, purity, patience and long life. 
First Nations people took notice of the Heron’s inquisitiveness, determination and excellent judgment skills and recognize the Heron as an expert fisher and hunter.  Native people believed that sighting a Heron before a hunt was a indication that the hunt would be a victorious one.  

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