The Bear symbol is one that has been highly regarded in Native American culture. There are many different meanings given to Native American bear symbolism,which relates to many different aspects of their culture, including ceremonies, art, and jewelry crafting.
Native American Bear Meaning in Culture and Jewelry
For many tribes-people, the Native American bear is believed to be greater than its own mass and as free as the great wind. However, bears are also unpredictable by nature, and thus, have the potential for great fury, making them the perfect symbol for powerful warriors with the tribe.
The Native American bear symbol would often create a sense of terror once it’s ferocious side was seen. Native American bear symbols are one of the most important clan animals in many tribes as well, some of which even have their own bear clans within the greater tribe. This is often displayed atop tribal totem poles.
The Native American bear symbol carries many different meanings. Some of the Native American bear symbolism that people hold true among multiple tribes are freedom, power, discernment, protection, resourcefulness, motherhood, childbearing, unpredictability, protection, and courage.
Many of the meanings behind the Native American bear symbol come from stories and folklore about the animal itself, feeding into a rich culture of lore and belief. In these tales, the Native American bear has often been depicted with it’s warrior traits, by punishing people or other animals whose behavior wasn’t up to par. The personality traits of the Native American bear could vary in folklore quite a bit, to somewhat gullible and dumb to hostile and intimidating, or even intelligent and aristocratic at times.
In stories and folklore about the Native American bear, the creature typically would not harm humans who did nothing wrong, with a few exceptions. In addition, the maternal characteristics of female bears was often mentioned, with their protector-like qualities well noted. This is likely one of the reasons why Native American bears, and the symbols representing them, are often been used in Native American jewelry, wears, and art.
The Native American bear symbol, as a whole, in jewelry was often shown to represent leadership qualities, as well as strength. Another bear symbol used in jewelry is the bear paw. The bear paw is believed to be an indicator or way of call for the animal spirit and it’s power, representing inner strength.