Manataka American Indian Council




By Takatoka


















The ant is a very hard worker and conscientious in every detail of its work.  They live in huge communities where most tasks are delegated to  individuals who form work groups to carry out various activities of hunting, gathering, nesting and nursery, habitat construction, and protection.  The ant accepts its position within its community without question and is totally dedicated and loyal throughout its lifetime to the entire community.





Brother armadillo has a passive style of defense and its medicine comes from its own body.   The 'digger' is called the "Little Armored One" because of thick bony plates and horns that covers its back.  It teaches protection and ways to move through dimensions.





The Great Bear is found on every continent and comes in many sizes and colors.  The bear is revered on every continent, especially North America where the indigenous people who believe it was once human and Great Mystery lives in the spirit of bear.  Many American Indian tribes have bear clans and bear ceremonies. Bear people use herbs and other plants in healing.  Bear medicine is powerful and without peer among the animal people.  The bear is a guide to the river of meaning. 




The beaver spirit is never defeated.  A gentle nature makes the beaver a friend to all creatures within its domain.  Beaver is an industrious neighbor with its unbelievable resolve and tenacity.  People who work with the beaver spirit will learn great lessons of life that will bring many blessings of strength, security and trust.






The great bison or buffalo of North America is a very powerful symbol to American Indians.  Though best suited to cooler climates, buffalos roamed virtually in entire continent.  The smaller woodlands buffalo and its bigger cousin, the plains buffalo were revered and honored in ceremony and every day life. To the plains Indian, our Buffalo Brother meant sacred life and the abundance of the Creator's blessing on Mother Earth.  




The butterfly is great admired among American Indians and is a bringer of joy and peace. Cultures all over earth revere its delicate and colorful beauty. Most butterflies live very short lives, only a week or two, except for the Angle Wing and Monarch live about six months.  They experience stages of development from egg in the cocoon to caterpillar to adult butterfly.  



Coyote is subject of many American Indian stories, songs and ceremonies and if often referred to as the Trickster.  Coyotes can adapt to almost any environment, but prefer the prairies and low foothills. They live in undergrounds dens or sometimes caves.  Coyote is a survivor.  Hunted to near extinction, coyote populations are slowly rebounding in areas where they are least threatened.  





Crow is the left-handed guardian. Crow knows the unknowable mysteries of creation and is the keeper of all sacred law. There are several species of crow. Raven is one of these and magpies are another. Crow medicine people are masters of illusion. Do not try to figure crow out. It is the power of the unknown at work, and something special is about to happen.


Crow is also the guardian of ceremonial magic and healing. In any healing circle, Crow is present. Crow guides the magic of healing and the change in consciousness that will bring about a new reality and dispel "dis-ease" or illness. You can rest assure when ever crows are around, magic is near by and you are about to experience a change in consciousness. Crow can give you the courage to enter the darkness of the void, which is the home of all that is not yet in form.


They are territorial and won't give up an area without a fight. They are loners, seeming to like to spend time to themselves.


If you have a crow as a totem, you need to be willing to walk your talk and speak your truth. You must put aside your fear of being a voice in the wilderness and "caw" the shots as you see them. Crow is an omen of change. If he keeps appearing to you he may be telling you that you have a powerful voice when addressing issues that you do not quite understand or feel that they are out of balance.


Crows are the bringer of messages from the spirit world, and is thought to dwell beyond the realm of time and space.

When you meet crow, he could be telling you that there will be changes in your life and that possibly you should step by the usual way you view reality and look into the inner realms …walk your talk…be prepared to let go of your old thinking and embrace a new way of viewing yourself and the world.


Crow is the sacred keeper of the law. Crow medicine signifies a firsthand knowledge of a higher order of right and wrong than that indicated by the laws created in human culture. With Crow medicine, you speak in a powerful voice when addressing issues that for you seem out of harmony, out of balance, out of whack, or unjust.


When you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth. The prime path of true Crow people says to be mindful of your opinions and actions. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life’s mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape shifted world of peace.


Dogs have one of the best totems or spirit guides because they are well attuned to the nature of humans and understand the best ways to guide them.  Throughout history the dog has been known as man's best friend.  There are hundreds of varieties, sizes and shapes found on every continent.  Certain breeds of dog are designed for specific functions.     




American Indians see the eagle as a sacred messenger that carries prayers to the Creator and returns with gifts and visions.  We use eagles feathers to connect to this majestic and powerful spirit guide as we know the eagle feather holds cleansing and healing powers.  The eagle is seen by many cultures as a symbol of courage, vision, strength and endurance.   





Elk can run forever.  They have great stamina and are powerful beings with excellent reflexes.  Elk are very unpredictable too.  They can be friendly one moment and angry the next.  The Elk is sensitive to signs of danger and when threatened, may stand and fight to the end or the herd may run in every direction to confuse predators.  Elk live in large herds, but a lone elk can often be seen.  Elk graze during the day only -- never at night.  But if disturbed, such as by humans during hunting season, they will feed only at night. An adult bull elk with antlers is a formidable opponent against any animal, including mountain lion and bear.  During the "Rutting Season", adult bulls attack each other with their antlers to determine which among them is fittest to mate.   Elk are found in many states (including but not limited to: Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin) with the largest herds being in the Rocky Mountains, Yellow Stone and Canada.

Main Attributes:


The Falcon is a bird of prey that possesses great powers of speed and  precision.  They are found throughout the world except in Antarctica.  Falcon are 15 to 21 inches long with a wingspan of 40 inches.  The female is slightly larger than the male and both have long pointed wings.  They like to nest in cliffs, tall trees and on tall buildings and eat other birds.   Falcons live about 15 years and travel great distances during migrations.




The Fox represents cunning, slyness, stealth, observation, and wisdom. 


The Fox can take on human form according to Chinese and American Indian beliefs.  The Hopi, Cherokee and other tribes know that Fox Medicine brings healing power.  The Apache say the Fox brought the first fire to the people.  Other cultures such as the ancient Egyptians thought the Fox brought blessings of the gods.  The Incas deified the Fox.  


There are 23 species of omnivorous canid Foxes worldwide and is found on nearly every continent.  In the Bengali language the Fox is known as "huacka-hua."  The French call the Fox "Le renard glapit."  The Japanese say, "konkon."   Foxes tend to be smaller than other members of their family such as wolves, jackals and domestic dogs. They have slender, slightly flattened skulls, pointed muzzles, moderately short but powerful legs, large ears, and long, bushy tails.  Unlike many canids, foxes are not pack animals; they are solitary, opportunistic feeders that hunt live prey (especially rodents) by stealth, cunning and surprise. With great dexterity and a pouncing technique practiced from an early age, they are usually able to kill their prey instantly. Foxes also gather a wide variety of other foods ranging from grasshoppers to fruit and berries. Foxes have been successfully employed to control pests on fruit farms, leaving the fruit intact.  Foxes hold individual territories and generally remain within them except for the mating season. Young foxes are called kits. Males are known as dogs and females are called vixen.  A group of foxes is a skulk.



The Fox packs a lot of medicine and good teachings into its small body.  Knowing the Fox and its ways will help you maintain balance and harmony in your life. 



Speed, strength, and grace are the finer qualities of this noble animal.  The horse lived on the North American continent for thousands of years, but mysteriously disappeared and was later reintroduced by Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500's.  American Indians quickly mastered equestrian skills and found the spirit of the horse to be a valuable asset in learning ways of leadership, safety in movement and freedom.







In numerous cultures, the hummingbird has powerful spiritual significance. These magical beings are most often viewed as a symbol of joy, happiness and love and come to awaken us to the beauty of the present moment.  Many people develop a mysterious bond with this tiny creature.


According to the Quechua people of Peru, the hummingbird is a symbol of resurrection. This is because each hummer becomes lifeless and seems to die on cold nights, but it comes back to life again when the miraculous sunrise brings warmth.


The hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart.


When we assume hummingbird consciousness, our life becomes a wonderland of sensuous delights. We live for beauty, delighting in flowers, aromas, fine mist, and delicate tastes.


The hummingbird teaches us to laugh and enjoy the creation, to appreciate the magic of being alive, and the truth of beauty.


Hummingbirds awaken us to the beauty of the present moment. As they dance the four directions, they awaken us to the medicinal properties of plants.   Hummingbirds teach us how to draw the life essence from flowers. "They can teach us how to use flowers to heal and win hearts in love."


Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence. They teach us to fight in a way where no one really gets hurt. They teach us simple courage.


The twittering, vibrating sounds of the hummingbirds bring us an internal massage that restores health and balance.

Hummingbirds also inspire us to protect the environment and to preserve old traditions that are in danger of being lost. When American Indian ways were being destroyed by the expanding Euro-American culture, the Ghost-Shirt religion was established to try to bring back the animals and old ways through dancing. The leader of the dance was a hummingbird.


Hummingbird Symbolism

The fluttering wings of the hummingbird move in the pattern of an infinity symbol. They are a symbol of eternity, continuity, and infinity.


By observing the Hummingbird, we see they are seemingly tireless. Always actively seeking the sweetest nectar, they remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day.


Amazing migratory birds, some Hummingbirds are known to wing their way as far as 2000 miles to reach their destination. This quality reminds us to be persistent in the pursuit of our dreams, and adopt the tenacity of the Hummingbird in our lives.


The Hummingbird animal totem is a messenger of hope and jubilation.


Hummingbird Animal Totems offer attributes like:

·                     affection

·                     agility

·                     energy

·                     healing

·                     infinity

·                     joy

·                     persistence

·                     peace

·                     playfulness

·                     loyalty

·                     renewal

·                     sincerity

·                     vitality  



Lizards are ancient brothers who are found in warmer climates all over the earth. There are five general families of lizards and literally hundreds of species, the largest being the Komodo Dragons weighing in at more than 350 pounds and the smallest is the Beata measuring less than three quarters of an inch long.  They have many descriptive names such as the Australian Bearded Dragon, Yellow Spotted Gecko, Iguanas, Salamanders, and Horned Lizards who squirt blood from their eyes.  Many American Indian tribes recorded their relationship with the lizard in images on pottery, petroglyphs, effigy bowls, figures, and shells and portrayed lizards in their ceremonies and stories as symbols of strength. 



The Lynx is an exquisitely beautiful member of the cat family know by its short, strong body and long legs, bobbed tail and tufts of fur that sprout out a the top of each ear.  Their coats are thick and luxurious in the winter to protect them against the icy winds that prevail in the high mountainous regions of Canada and Alaska. Having large, padded paws the lynx is sure-footed on ice and snow while chasing its primary prey, the snowshoe hare.  Like most cats, the Lynx will spend much of its life alone. The lynx has powerful eyesight and great abilities of stealth and cunning are formidable. 




Our powerful moose cousin is a symbol of courage and determination.  Those who know the moose spirit proudly walk with grace and have universal knowledge.  The power of their presence is awesome and inspiring.




There are thirteen species of otters divided into two living environments, the river and sea.  Otters grow to be around four feet long and males weigh over sixty-five pound and the female over forty-five pounds. Their hearing is excellent and they can see very well under water.  Otters have flipper-like hind feet for propulsion and their whiskers can sense movement in the water. The retracting claws on the front paws are cat-like and otters have an excellent sense of touch.  The otter has a long stream-lined body, small ears and a broad muzzle.  Their extremely thick fur that keeps them insulated in frigid waters.  They are the one of the very few animal known to use tools.   



There are about 135 species of owl across the world and 18 are found in North America.  The owl is a silent flyer, extraordinary vision and the best hearing of any bird in the world. Grandmother Owls can rotate their heads three- quarters of the way around rather quickly giving the illusion of a complete turn.  All owls are predatory and some owls hunt during the day but most hunt at night.  Some species, like the Screech Owl and the Great Horned Owl, live in one place year round; others, like the Saw-whet Owl and the Short-Eared Owl and the Burrowing Owl will travel long distances.  It is illegal to capture or kill an owl in the United States.  Contrary to superstition, owls pose no threat to humans, physically or spiritually. 



The puma is also known as jaguar, panther, cougar, mountain lion, cheetah, leopard and more names than just about any other mammal.   Male pumas are solitary cats and their domain vary in size between 30 to 125 miles, but ranges do overlap the ranges of the smaller female.  Pumas 'communicate' with each other by leaving feces, urine, scratches on logs or in the dirt or snow.  Only females make a den and males tend to roam.  Pumas are powerfully built and have sharp paws and large paws. Even though they can run very fast and have a flexible spine to help them maneuver around obstacles and change direction quickly, pumas are mostly ambush hunters.  Pumas have been known to down large elks and moose.  American Indians successfully lived beside the puma and appreciated their power and grace.



The rabbit never goes far from its burrow as it timidly searches for vegetable foods to supply its growing family.  There are over twenty four species of rabbits in America and many more around the world.  Rabbits serve as a perfect example of nature's balance as nearly all predatory animals eat rabbits, but because they multiply so fast, their numbers are kept fairly constant.   Quick reflexes and keen observation skills are its two most important traits.



Ravens are the largest songbird in North America.  Raven are often referred to by some indigenous tribes as the 'secret keepers' and are the subject of many stories.  Their ebony black color is sometimes associated with darkness.  Ravens are very intelligent and are able mimic the sounds other birds and can squawk out some human words.  Ravens are found in many different regions and climates.



Skunks are a member of the weasel family and in North America, there are four types of skunks.  About the size of a house cat, skunks are active at night but are also seen during the day.  Their habitat is in clearings, pastures, prairies and at the forest edge where they dig burrows or live in any convenient covered area.  Skunks prefer to eat meat and insects but also dine on vegetation and any food with a strong odor.  Of course, it's most famous characteristic is its horrendous defense system, skunk ink.    



There are 2,267 species of snakes living in the world today.  Snakes have essentially the same organs as humans, but they do not have eyelids or ears.  Usually, females are larger than males and most can travel three to five miles per hour.  Some snakes are born fully formed, while others hatch from eggs and snakes in captivity have lived over thirty years.  Snakes are fascinating creatures that deserve respect.  Throughout history the snake has had many legends associated with it linking them to creation, fertility and transformation.  





Grandmother spider is a wise old teacher and weaver of many stories.  Her unique tapestry of life offers many paths to the center of oneself and creation.  Her medicine speaks of connections and unity of spirit.






Mr. Squirrel gathers and prepares for long winter nights.  As a friendly, quick and industrious worker, he knows the ways to survive.  On a spiritual plain, Mr. Squirrel brings us many gifts and lessons to help us gather the blessings of life for our journey into the next dimension.  




Wild turkeys lived almost ten million years ago and are native to North America.  Between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers cover the body of an adult turkey.  Related to pheasants, gobbling of turkeys can be heard a mile away.  Wild turkeys have excellent vision during the day but don't see as well at night. Turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 mph, and can fly up to 55 mph.  Wild turkeys like open areas for feeding, mating and habitat. They use forested areas as cover from predators and for roosting in trees at night. A varied habitat of both open and covered area is essential for wild turkey survival.



You can help but admire turtle and tortoises.  Their ancient wisdom, unfaltering character and physical characteristics make them among nature's most interesting creatures.  The turtle is a creature of both water and the land.  Because of its great age and its slow metabolism the turtle is associated with longevity.  The oldest known tortoise died in 1965 in Madagascar at the age of 188.  The largest living species is the Galapagos tortoise weighing in some cases, over 570 pounds.  Stupendemys geographicus was a prehistoric turtle that was 10 feet long and probably weighed 4,000 to 5,000 pounds.  Turtle medicine can teach new perceptions about time and our relationship to it. It can also help us grow old gracefully and in harmony with our environment. When the pace of life becomes too hectic the turtle shows us how to slow down and go with the flow.  




Weasels are very quick ground dwelling meat eaters.  They are solitary night hunters, often killing more than they eat.  Rodents and chickens are its favorite diet. Weasels are also known as ermine in cold regions and are related to ferrets, mink and polecats.  The weasel is agile, hard-muscled and has a cunning, yet sometimes playful mind. They are stealthy, fierce and relentless hunters. 



The wolf has been much misunderstood and maligned in history and is not the vicious intruder of western fairy tales.  The wolf is a shy, yet very sociable creature with strong rules of behavior.  Fear of the wolf is perhaps born when its eerie howl raises the hackles on our neck and in our souls.   Maybe we do not fear the wolf at all, but only the wild nature within ourselves.  To American Indians, the wolf is said to be "teacher" medicine. We study wolfs ways of hunting and their social structure.  The wolf is associated with the Dog Star, Sirus and some cultures belief humans came from this distant star.  Wolf populations are threatened in the lower 48 states, but abundant in Alaska and Canada.  Wolf has much to teach us, if only we will listen. 




Ferocious, Strong. Cunning.


Some Indians say the wolverine as a trickster, probably because of its quick cunning ways.  The Wolverine is also considered as a messenger between the real world and the spirit world.  As a burrowing trickster, the smart and wily wolverine moves between the underworld and the upper world with ease.     


Wolverine babies are born blind and can often weigh less than a pound.  All their senses develop quickly, so their keen smell can detect food and enemies as tiny ones.  Even though they are blind, baby wolverines have a highly developed sense of feel.  Their intelligence and intuitive senses increase rapidly. 


If your totem spirit guide is the wolverine, it can teach you to respond to challenges of life with great focus.  Part of the wolverines ferocious way is its tenacity and persistence.  Once the wolverine grabs on to something, it digs in with its sharp, long claws and sinks it teeth in and seldom lets go.  This tenacity will help guide you to a deeper understanding of you personal spirit. 


The medicine of the wolverine is powerful, sometimes too powerful for the situation. It can teach you to regulate your relationships to maintain an even hand, not too hard and not too soft.  Learning  how to utilize your power in a balanced way is one of the teachings the wolverine.


Because of the wolverines cunning, focus and tenacity, it arranges its energies in a straight, balanced line.  This alignment allows them to know the exact moment they should act and when they should retreat.  Knowing how and when to respond to any given life situation is what makes the wolverine such a worthy and capable guide.


The wolverine is a loner most of the year.  It can travel thirty to forty miles a day in search of prey.   The endurance and strength of the wolverine teaches us to have a stick-to-it attitude in life and go the last mile to get what we seek.


The coloring of wolverines allows them to be unseen in the shadows and out in the open as well.  They can wrench and wring their bodies into various shapes that allows them to wriggle into small cervices.  This characteristic is reminiscent of the old Indian medicine way of shape shifting and therefore serves as a guide to the medicine of space and time.  


The fur of the wolverine is extremely durable and it resists the build up of ice and snow.  This favorable characteristic can teach us to weather any storm that comes our way.  


Wolverines are slower than most of their prey, but their cunning and willingness to be a scavenger suits them and keeps their bellies full. They are known to be nature's best survivor by all who know them well because  wolverines can make-do with whatever nature provides.    


The primary traits of the wolverine teaches us focus, clarity, endurance, emotional and physical balance, and spiritual understanding.


The wolverine is a master of its domain and its skills and behavior is a great teacher.



Spirit Guide Books

CP504 ANIMAL-SPEAK: The Spiritual and magical powers of creatures great and small by Ted Andrews

Learn how to speak and understand the language of the animals in your life. This book helps you meet and work with animals as totems and spirits. It provides techniques for reading signs and omens in nature so you can open to higher perceptions and prophesy. Paperback, 400pp  $19.95



CP790 POWER ANIMAL MEDITATIONS:  Shamanic Journeys with Your Spirit Allies by Nicki Scully

A collection of guided journeys and meditations to help the reader connect with and learn from power animals and spirit allies.  * 50 unique power animal and spirit guide meditations. * Illustrated by the award-winning artist of Medicine Cards, Angela Werneke. * 7 more journeys going to new levels added since first edition.  What can the hawk teach you about your life purpose? What does the salmon know of fertile dreams, goal setting, and self actualization? Calling upon the magical wisdom of nature, Nicki Scully guides us into the spirit world of sacred totems, oracles, and animal teachings from many cultures, including Africa, Egypt, and North America. Encounter the archetypal wisdom teachings of Cobra, Eagle, Dolphin, Lioness, White Buffalo, Coyote, Cedar Tree, and many others. Each totem is exquisitely illustrated by Angela Werneke, the award-winning illustrator of Medicine Cards. 6 X 9, Soft Cover 280 pages.  $16.95 


CP652 The POWER OF EAGLES by Twyman L. Towery 

Nature’s Way To Individual Accomplishment Author, Towery, has in a unique and interesting way shown us principles of living in both our personal and group lives drawn from the special characteristics of the eagle. 5.5 X 9. Hard Cover. 160 pages.  $22.95


CP653 The POWER OF WOLVES: Nature's Way to Organizational Success by Twyman L. Towery

In this book, author and speaker Twyman L. Towery responds to the resurgence of respect for the wisdom of the natural world with a guide to assist people today in meeting one of their greatest challenges: to find a balance between work, family, and personal living. With the modern-day emphasis on leadership and the growth of family values, it is not always easy to remember that the "strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf." This book will remind even the most corporate-minded that individual growth and potential lead to the strength of the organization, and that the strength of the organization leads to the strength of the individual.  The reader will be inspired and motivated by well- researched stories depicting the fascinating organizational life of the majestic wolf pack. Woven together is a unique combination of poignant quotes, personal anecdotes, organizational examples, provocative questions, and lessons from nature's way that illuminate timeless principles in each of the following chapters: Teamwork, Patience, Unity Through Uniqueness, Curiosity, Attitude, Failure, Perseverance, Communication, Strategy, Play, Death and Survival, Loyality, and Change.  This book reveals fundamental truths through unique stories that are not only fun to read but also serve as powerful metaphors for the human spirit. 5.5 X 9, 159 pages Hard Cover $22.95



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