Navajo’s Language – The Symbols and What They Represent

In ancient times, the people of the Navajo community were not communicating through writing. Instead, they told oral histories, created symbols, and drew pictures to communicate. And all these symbols give us a complete and reverent language of life, nature, and spirit. This language is also unmatched in its depth and power.

Why “language” in the Navajo community is so powerful?

The Native American people such as the Navajo tribe believe that the language derives its power from the way they view things- whether seen or touched – living or inanimate – as possessors of a spirit. Everything in nature is saturated with sacred energy, and they deserve respect and honor. Earlier, and even till date, many Native American’s are intimately connected with all of nature. They have a firm belief that a person is part of the whole, and mankind cannot function without the cooperation and harmony of all things in the universe. Navajo symbols also reflect this kind of unity with surrounding and environment. Every symbol in art holds a deeper meaning and is an integral part of the culture. Art symbols also convey profound beliefs and perceptions.

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Symbols and their meanings

The Native way is mainly a holistic way of life. Navajo’s symbols or other Native American symbols for that matter are often used to represent inclusion, totality, and a broad picture of organic life. For instance, a symbol of an animal not only represents a particular animal but also its role in the universe, its environment, its unique language, and its message to all other living things.

Let’s take a look at a few Native American symbols and what they represent:

Bird

In the Navajo culture, a bird is a representation of internal peace. The display shows that anxiety no longer controls the mind and the heart. Overall, the Navajo community believes that birds symbolize light-hearted freedom.

Circles

The symbol of a circle represents the cycle of the seasons. It also represents the cycle of life to death to rebirth and the four elements which are the milestones in a person’s life- their birth and infancy, their youth and adolescence, their maturity in middle age, and their wisdom in their old age.

Arrow

An arrow symbolizes protection and defense. If an arrow faces to the left, it means to ward off evil. Meanwhile, if it faces to the right, it is a sign of protection, and if it faces down, it means peace.

Lighting

Drawn in the “zigzag” shape, the lightning symbol embodies power and strength. Earlier, this symbol was commonly painted on the faces of Native Americans as war paint. It was also meant to give power and speed to the warrior when they were on the battlefield.

Check out our Navajo Indian art on purses and Navajo coin on purses. We also have a variety of Navajo gift collections, from jewelry, coffee mugs and more.