In many ways, the history, culture, and traditions of the Native American people have influenced American art and society, and Native American web graphics are no exception.
Finding Native American Art for Your Website
There is no shortage of tribal art on the Internet. There are even websites created specifically to provide this art to webmasters to use on their web pages. The resources listed here represent only a short list of what's available throughout the Internet. Some are free, and others are available at reasonable cost.
- Karen Whimsy provides black & white American Indian images.
- First People provides volumes of information on American Indians, and an entire section with artwork, photographs, and clipart.
- Sam Silverhawk has created some stunning works of art at this graphics site.
- Elysium Gates offers a variety of images from Crystal Cloud Graphics.
Meaning Behind Native American Symbols
Before you use Native American symbols on your website, try to learn about what each of the symbols mean. Consider, whenever you use Native American art on your website, that it's much like using the Christian symbol of the cross, or the Jewish symbol of the Star of David. Such symbols should be treated with proper respect and etiquette when you're placing them on your website. Proper use of Native American symbols within the context and content of your site will reflect an intelligent and meaningful understanding of the graphics that you've chosen.
Some of the meaning behind basic symbols are as follows:
- Feathers: The eagle feather is worn as a symbol of strength and wisdom, but various feathers can mean truth, speed, lightness, flight, and ascension.
- Wolf: The image of the wolf represents intelligence, cunning, loyalty and compassion.
- Snake: The snake or serpent is usually the symbol of the shaman, and indicates a spiritual nature and a connection with the spiritual realm.
- Turtle: The turtle is an image of protection, often used on totems accordingly.
- Sun: The sun indicates energy, and often each ray represents the energy centers within every human. The Hopi Sun is connected with the center of creation.
- Sun and Wind: The image with the sun surrounded by wind represents the intimate connection between different natural forces and how natural energies can affect life.
- Labyrinth: This image, which looks like a circular maze, represents human life as an infinite, complicated journey with no beginning and no end.
Legends of America provides a comprehensive list of Native American totems and the meanings for each symbol. Performing an Internet search for "native American symbols" returns an extensive list of websites than can help with your research.
Using Native American Art Online
Using Native American art is an excellent way for you to become a storyteller. This is a use that is encouraged by all American Indian storytellers across the country. The tradition of this culture is an oral storytelling tradition, and the Internet presents an opportunity for all storytellers, whether or not you are of Native American heritage, to tell a story using the beautiful, symbolic imagery of these cultures.