Birds and their Relationship with American Indians

American Indians & their Relationship with Birds

Indians & Birds

American Indians believe that every bird species has special traits and characteristics that are gifted to humans through their feathers. The meaning and significance behind the gift of a fallen feather is related to the specific bird from which it originated, but the meaning may differ among tribes. 


The Eagle is one of the most common bird symbols to American Indian tribes.

Gifted with the skill to fly higher than other birds, they are the messengers between the people and the Creator.  They help to bring balance between the Great Spirit and the physical world.

Eagles are believed to be the most superior bird species and connect one to the heavens, so finding an eagle feather is a gift sent from the Creator.

Eagles also represent leadership and vision and the presence of an eagle provides the courage and freedom to look ahead and move forward. To tribes from the plains Golden Eagle feathers meant the recipient has shown an impressive act of courage and bravery such as saving a life or counting coop. To receive an eagle feather is an ultimate honor.

Golden Eagle
Rainbow Crow

American Indian Stories About Birds