Natural Beaver Wood Native American Hiking Staff

This is a shorter staff measuring only 49.5″ and is also another customized gift. It is a piece of beaver wood found in the Ammonoosuc river in New Hampshire. Both the top and bottom have been pointed by beavers and teeth marks are visible along the length of the staff. There are numerous Native American symbols depicted with wood burning, metallic pens, and paint pens. I hope it’s not a grievous case of cultural appropriation, I simply enjoy working with these symbols. Three turquoise beds are tied near the top of the staff. I used acrylic sealer and boiled linseed oil to protect the ink and wood respectively.


Many of the symbols have different stylizations and meanings depending on which tribe they’re from. I did my best to match each one with their respective tribes but couldn’t always find their specific origin. The dragonfly and butterfly depictions I used are not the same stylizations specific to any particular tribe, but the insects themselves are symbolic to many. And since meanings and styles differ greatly from tribe to tribe and clan to clan if I’ve written anything inaccurate I would like to know the accurate information.

Symbols and meanings present on staff:


Sun symbol, unspecified tribe: happiness

Dragonfly, Zuni: messengers of the spirit world, swiftness, activity

Turtle, Hopi, Navajo: persistence, longevity, mother Earth and in some myths saved their tribes from the Great Flood

Cut circle with eight projecting lines, unspecified tribe: Earth forces, permanent home

Kokopelli, Hopi, Zuni, fertility, spiritual and physical healing, love, and music

Thunderbird, found across North American tribes: most commonly associated with divine dominion, unlimited happiness, strength, protection, and indomitable spirit

Serpent Mound, Adena, Fort Ancient, or possibly earlier tribes, believed to mark solstices and special astronomical dates, spiritual power, and rebirth. It’s also similar to the Hopi Tokchi’i symbol which may represent the Serpent Mound, the guardian of the East which they believe was constructed by their ancestors

Crescent moon, unspecified tribe: guardian of Earth associated with femininity and grandmothers

Four pointed star, or Kachina, Pueblo Tribes: morning star, courage, and purity of spirit

Spiral, Pueblo Tribes: most commonly associated with a journey

Bear with arrow, Zuni: the arrow is called a heartline and traces the path of breath to the place of the spirit, represents and encourages strength and good health

Bear prints, unspecified tribe: good omen

Turquoise, Zuni: sky stone

Turquoise, modern generalized (likely from a distillation of ancient sources): wisdom, tranquility, protection, good fortune, and hope

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