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Native American Seal Mythology

Seals represent wealth and plenty among Northwest Coast tribes, and images of seals commonly adorn potlatch artifacts. In some Northwest Coast tribes, such as the Nootka and Makah, seals are also associated with skill and safety on the ocean waves and were used as emblems by sailors and whaling parties. In the Inuit culture, seals are symbols of innocence, and therefore Inuit translations of the Bible use the Inuktitut word for "seal" in place of "lamb."

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Seals are also used as a clan animal in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Seal Clans include the Tlingit and Haida. Seal is used as a clan crest in some Northwest Coast tribes, and can sometimes be found carved on totem poles.

Native American Seal Gods and Spirits

Sedna (Inuit)

Native American Legends About Seals

*The Story of Seal Rock:
    Anishinabe legend about a seal spirit that killed a baby.

    Makah legend about the beginning of the world, including the origin of the first seal.

Recommended Books of Seal Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
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Sacred Hunt: A Portrait of the Relationship Between Seals and Inuit:
    Interesting book about the meaning and importance of seals to the Inuit culture and way of life.
The Boy Who Lived with the Seals:
    Picture book based on a Chinook Indian legend about a boy who joined the Seal People.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.

Back to Native American animal meaning
Back to American Indian folklore
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