The thunderbird is a legendary creature in the history and culture of many North American indigenous people, and thus its meaning varies according to the tribe's geographic location.
The symbol of the thunderbird is sacred ~ it is positive and should be held in high esteem, and is considered a supernatural bird of power and strength.
The Thunderbird is important in the art, songs and oral histories of many Pacific Northwest Coast cultures, and is found in various forms among the peoples of the American Southwest, Great Lakes, and Great Plains.
The thunderbird's name comes from the common belief that the beating of its enormous wings causes thunder and stirs the wind to move, which would drive the clouds that would bring rain. The lightning streaks were believed to be the light flashing from its eyes as it blinks.
Bird symbols are thus very special to the Native American people, due to their ability to soar above the clouds ~ perhaps to the heavens ~ and their sense of freedom.
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