Native American color meaning: promise you do not know!


How much do you know about the effect of colors in recognizing a culture? We all know the effect that colors can have. One of the most important is the effect of knowing a culture and its people. Today we read about the color of Native American.

Colors have played an important role for Native American. In fact, much of their culture is associated with colors and symbolism.

Undoubtedly, understanding this issue and using colors that have a special meaning in a culture can inspire you for appropriate designs. Let’s step into Native American land:

Native American color symbolism

In fact, Native Americans were from different tribes. Each tribe had different colors and symbolism.

However, the symbolism of the colors we will see below has been widely used for most Native American tribes.

  1. In general, black symbolizes night, cold, death and disease.
  2. Brown is a symbol of animals and death.
  3. White is a symbol of peace, paradise, snow and mourning.
  4. Blue symbolizes confidence, wisdom, sky, moon, water, lightning and sorrow.
  5. Green symbolizes healing, endurance, the earth, plant life and rain.
  6. Yellow symbolizes sun, dawn, day and wisdom.
  7. Finally, red symbolizes sunset, earth, war, blood and wounds.
a man of native american tribes in their special clothes and white feathers on his head

Native American color meanings

Colors have different meanings in each culture. Let’s look at the meaning of colors in Native American culture:

I) Red in Native Americans Culture

It can be said that red has been an important color for various Native American tribes. In fact, red is the color of the mountain and the earth.

In the Pohatan tribe, the three colors red, white and black were so important that in the feathers of warriors, the color of their bodies and faces were used.

The Koshata tribe in Louisiana also used red as a symbol of life-giving blood on their flag. In addition, in the Montana language, the name copper was used for red.

In general, for some Native Americans, red represents war, courage, and victory, and for others, death and defeat.

picture of red knitwear

II) Yellow, orange and gold in Native Americans culture

In Native American culture, the three colors yellow, orange, and gold can be grouped together. Also, these three colors represent the autumn season. Let’s see the meaning of each of these colors:

Yellow – This color represents power and divinity and creates complete control over an issue.

Orange – a symbol of sunshine and the power of regeneration.

Gold – For Native Americans, gold was a symbol of luck before they plundered their lands, but it became a symbol of death after the plunder. It also shows pride and self-confidence.

an image of a golden hand-shaped candle holder with a white candle on it. also orange and yellow flowers around it.

III) Green in Native Americans Culture

Native Americans used green plants a lot, so it’s natural that this color was important to them. They also considered green the color of youth, fertility, growth, freedom and usefulness. In addition, the Tonto Apache tribe used green as a symbol of the earth and other colors in their flag.

Most of the Sac and Fox tribes considered green a symbol of peace and spring. Shamans also used green to improve vision. Because most tribes believed that green was healing.

picture of green pastures

IV) Blue in Native Americans Culture

For some tribes, blue was a symbol of peace and paradise, and for others, like shamans, it was a sign of defeat and trouble. Above all, the tribes in the southeastern United States believed that blue could prevent the entry of evil spirits. So that’s why most of them painted their doors blue. Also, turquoise blue stone was their protective stone.

a picture of a roaring blue sea

V) Purple in Native Americans culture

Native Americans did not usually use purple in face and body painting. Because this color sometimes indicates death. Of course, in some tribes, purple is a symbol of wisdom.

image of a cluster-shaped bedside lamp  with purple light

VI) White in Native Americans Culture

Most Native Americans considered white to be the color of peace and happiness. So in their celebrations, they used white food and painted their houses white.

an image of a white background with water droplets on it

VII) Black in Native Americans Culture

Some Native American tribes considered black a symbol of death. In addition, black was aggressive and was used to indicate readiness for war.

an image of the black night sky with a white moon in it

VIII) Brown in Native Americans culture

Native Americans considered brown a symbol of animals and death. But in their languages, the word Brown did not have a specific meaning and they used it more for skin color.

an image of a brown wood trunk

Native American colors of the 4 directions

In different cultures, colors are usually considered for 4 main directions. The same is true of Native American culture. Native Americans generally show the west direction in black because they believe it is a symbol of death and the sun sets in that direction.

They also show the east direction in yellow because the sun rises in this direction and brings a new day. In addition, red was considered for the north because it is considered by the natives to have cold winds, and red is a symbol of the strength that can withstand these winds.

Finally, the natives used white for the south direction. They believe that the warm, pleasant winds that bring peace come from the south, and that white is also a symbol of peace.

a symbol of four colors consisting of yellow, red, black and white which represents the four geographical directions in native american culture.

Native Americans bead color meanings

One of the most beautiful and common handicrafts made by Native Americans is the use of decorative stamps in a variety of colors.

In fact, they used these beads in decoration, clothing and even as jewelry. They chose the colors used for these beads based on the symbolic meaning of the colors I described earlier.

native american beaded embroidered vest
native american shoes embroidered with beads
native american purse embroidered with beads.
native american belt embroidered with beads.

Native Americans feather color meanings

Feather has often been an integral part of Native American culture. They have a meaning for each feather color. The meanings of which we understand below:

Purple feather in Native American culture

The natives considered this color as a symbol of universal awareness, spiritual connection and increasing spiritual growth.

an image of a purple feather with drops of water on it.

Blue feather in Native American culture

They considered the blue feathers to be a symbol of peace, inspiration, spiritual connection and psychological awareness.

an image of blue feathers

Green feather in Native American culture

In fact, green feathers are a symbol of health, healing, money, prosperity, success, nature, plants and animal spirits.

an image of green feathers on white background.

Yellow feather in Native American culture

Native Americans used yellow feathers for symbols such as mental alertness, vision, happiness, cheerfulness and intelligence.

an image of yellow feathers on white background.

Orange feather in Native American culture

In addition, Native Americans used orange feathers for symbols such as energy, change, optimism, success, new ideas, creativity and physical love.

an image of an orange feather with white tips on gray background.

Pink feather in Native American culture

For the natives, this color represented unconditional love, romance, care, compassion, harmony, loyalty, pride and inspiration.

an image of three pink feather

Red feather in Native American culture

Naturally, the red feather represents good luck, passion, feelings, courage, money and security for the natives.

an image of a red feather on ground.

White feather in Native American culture

White feathers also represent spirituality, angels, faith, protection, purification and hope for the natives.

an image of a white feather on white background.

Gray feather in Native American culture

In short, this feather color represents peace and neutrality.

an image of a gray feather on black background.

Black feather in Native American culture

Above all, the black feather was a symbol of protection, warning, repulsion, or warning of negative energy and mystical wisdom for the natives.

an image of black feathers.

Brown feather in Native American culture

The latest case is the brown feather, which for Native Americans represents stability, foundation, endurance, home, friendship and respect.

an image of a brown feather on light 
 brown background.

Native Americans face paint color meanings

In almost all Native American tribes, people painted their faces for war or other ceremonies. In fact, when used for face painting, colors have different symbols than when used for other purposes.

So, in the following, we will understand the meaning of each color used in the face paintings of these people:

A.  Purple color for the face is a symbol of magic and mystery. It is also for an act that is sacred and requires a lot of power.

B.  Blue color is used for the face for a person who has high wisdom and intelligence and also has high self-confidence.

C.  Green for the face, which is also the color of nature, is actually a healing color and the natives also used it for endurance.

D.  Yellow and orange were painted on the faces of those who have intellect and determination, as well as a warrior who wants to fight the enemy to the point of death.

E.  Red is a symbol of happiness and beauty for the face. Conversely, when this color is not used for face painting, it is a symbol of blood and anger.

F.  White for the face is usually done in mourning. Because white was considered a symbol of purity of the deceased.

G.  Black for the face is a symbol of victory and success.

a painting of a native american man with a red and white painting on his face with black and white feathers on his head.

How did Native Americans get the colors?

The interesting thing about the colors used by Native Americans is that they took most of the colors from natural materials. For example:

  • The native American got black from wild grapes, hickory bark and mountain mahogany bark.
  • They got brown from walnut shells and birch bark.
  • Purple is derived from blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and rotten maple wood.
  • Blue color is from larkspur petals, alfalfa flowers and sunflower seeds
  • Green color was from moss, algae, lily-of-the-valley leaves and juniper berries.
  • Also they got yellow from onion skins, goldenrod stems and flowers, sunflower petals, dock roots, peach leaves, birch leaves and sagebrush.
  • They got the red color from sumac berries, dogwood bark, beets and cranberries.
a picture of a dream catcher hanging that is important to Native American.

The last word

Native American tribes have been very diverse.  But at a glance, you can see how much color has affected their lives and manners.

Indeed, colors can be the beginning of an acquaintance with a civilization that is in the past or a new culture. I hope the content was useful for you!

Posted by

It's Nazanin. For me who loves the rainbow after the rain. What could be more beautiful than writing about colors ?! Well, I'm here now, in Dopely, to share my writings about colors with you and take you with me to the world of colors!


  1. Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a totally different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

  2. Some really nice and utilitarian information on this site, also I think the design contains great features.

    1. Great to hear you’d enjoy! ^_^

  3. Radiant!! I approve the use of pattern and fold!

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