So what do these totems mean?
- Buffalo – The buffalo was vital to Native Americans as they provided food, shelter, clothing, tools, bedding and other essentials. As a spirit animal, the buffalo is known for abundance, gratitude and community.
- Diamond pattern – The diamond or half-diamond pattern represents the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. It pays homage to the diamond back rattle snake and symbolizes our respect for nature. Rattlesnakes were important to the ancient Choctaw farmers because they ate small varmints that threatened the corn crops. When the diamond appears in a border, such as on Choctaw clothing, it is meant to represent a pathway.
- Hand – The hand includes the creative spiral and represents the hand of the artist.
- Horse – As a spirit animal, the horse represents power, service, and freedom. Hernando DeSoto brought Spanish mustangs to the New World in the 1500s, and the Choctaw Pony (link: https://returntofreedom.org/what-we-do/sanctuary/our-horses/choctaw-herd/) is a descendant of those magnificent creatures. The Choctaw people were dependent upon them for hunting parties and they carried many on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma from our homeland in Mississippi.
Spiral – The spiral is the most used symbol in the world. It is used by virtually every culture in some manner. For most North American tribes it symbolizes the life force, one’s personal path, or the creative spirit.
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©Carolyn Bernard Young