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Native American Dove and Pigeon Mythology

Doves and pigeons play a variety of different roles in Native American mythology. The Blackfoot tribe associated the dove with protection and safe return from battle, and dove feathers were often carried by war leaders as talismans to help them bring their men back safely. In some Eastern Algonquian tribes, turtledoves were associated with the spirit world, and heard at certain times, their cries could be omens of death. To some California Indian tribes, doves represent foolishness and naivete. The Cherokee associate mourning doves with acorns, and for a whimsical reason: the mourning dove's cooing cry sounds like the Cherokee word for "acorn," gule (pronounced similar to gool.) The Aztecs and other Mexican Indian tribes saw the dove as a symbol of love, associated with the goddess Xochiquetzal and often depicted on wedding ornaments.

Pigeons and doves are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Examples include the Dove Clan of the Abenaki and Pueblo tribes and the Pigeon Clan of the Ioway, Ho-Chunk, and Mohave tribes. The Cherokee also have a Pigeon Dance among their tribal dance traditions.

Native American Dove Gods and Spirits

Xochiquetzal (Aztec)

Native American Legends About Doves and Pigeons

*The Bird Tribes:
    Cherokee legend about the creation and symbolism of the dove and other birds.
*The Cottonwood Remembers:
    Tejas legend telling how the pigeon became the world's first murder victim.

Recommended Books of Pigeon and Dove Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Grandmother's Pigeon:
    This isn't a traditional legend, but a lovely mythical children's book written by Chippewa author Louise Erdrich.
Flights of Fancy: Birds in Myth, Legend, and Superstition:
    A good book on the meaning of birds in world mythology, including North and South America.



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