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American Indian Symbols
There are many different depictions of
arrows. They usually connote direction, force,
movement, power and direction of travel, also, as
seen in the bear and deer images below, the
pathway of the breath, the life-force of the animal
spirit, called the "heartline"
, depicted in many, many ways, are
symbols of prayers, marks of honor or
sources of ideas. They represent the Creative
Force, and are taken from birds connected
with the attribute for which they might be
utilized: goose flight feathers to fledge an
arrow because of the long flights of the geese;
Eagle feathers for honor or to connect the
user with the Creator, Turkey feathers to
decorate a kachina mask. As design elements,
they mau appear plain, banded, barred, or
Pahos or Prayer Sticks
, are carefully
notched and painted cottonwood or cedar
sticks with specific feathers attached to catch
the wind. They are planted in the ground at
religious sites, and at springs to carry specific
prayers to the Creator or to the Kachinas.
Their forms are found in many Pueblo and
Navajo designs.