The Sioux nation consists of three divisions: Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota. Lakota refer to themselves as "Ikche-Wichasha" – meaning the Real Natural Human Beings. This may give you some insight as to the foundation of Sioux symbols.
Nomadic by nature, they followed the buffalo of the prairie, where they utilized their outstanding hunting skills. Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse all came from the Sioux nation.
They worship Wakan Tanka – the grandfather spirit, pray with the pipe, and have vision quests – some lasting for days. Sioux symbols are an integral part of their rituals and ceremonies.
To the Sioux, every facet of being possesses a circular dimension - a cyclical nature. This concept is found in Sioux symbols, and Sioux reality, and it is their way of expressing the harmony of life.
Here are just a few Sioux symbol meanings. I offer them with a goal for better understanding of this regal nation. By observing these symbols, we can perhaps catch glimpse of the proud brilliance of the Sioux. Thunderbird:
In the granite summit of Harney Peak, the highest of the Black Hills in South Dakata, the legendary Thunderbird is said to nest. Both dreaded and honored by the Lakota the Thunderbird (or Wakinyan) is the guardian of truth. It is said that the Wakinyan kills liars with lightening bolts that strike from its beak and eyes. Tobacco offerings were made to entice the Thunderbirds to bring rain. Sioux Tortoise Motif:
The tortoise assists in welcoming the arrival of newborns, and assuring safe entry into the world. The Sioux believe the tortoise carries the earth inside its body, and had a direct connection with birth. It is a protective and auspicious sign. This tortoise motif would be embroidered on clothing and blankets for babies. Uname:
This is the Sioux holy symbol of the earth and the four winds that blow (radiating out from each corner). Four Medicine Arrows:
This is the Sioux medicine wheel and is a symbol of enlightenment. Each arrow represents a direction of thought and a state of being to aspire:
North arrow: Wisdom
South arrow: Innocence
East arrow: Far Seeing (or seeing into the future)
West arrow: Inner Seeing (introspection)
This wheel instructs the beholder how to learn more of themselves and the universe. All arrows pointing in the center symbolizes an attainment of enlightenment when all four directions of thought are culminated together. http://www.whats-your-sign.com/images/MedicineArrows.jpgMedicine Stone Wheel:
The medicine wheel is used for growth, learning, and is a tool for enlightenment and assistance in areas where we need it. This Sioux medicine wheel shows seven stones in the middle represent the seven types of human personality – or the universal personality (hate, love, fear, envy, compassion, etc.). The stones encircling the inner seven stones represent plants, animals, people or something else – each regarded as having equal value. The four cardinal points represent the four paths each person is born to.
East: Far seeing
South: Innocence of heart