Scalp Symbol

Native Indian Tribe

Meaning of the Scalp Symbol

Native American Indians were a deeply spiritual people and they communicated their history, thoughts, ideas and dreams from generation to generation through Symbols and Signs such as the Scalp symbol.

Scalp Symbols

Native American symbols are geometric portrayals of celestial bodies, natural phenomena and animal designs. The meaning of the Scalp symbol was to signify that scalps had been taken. The following image shows an example of Delaware Tribe picture writing and the scalp symbol which indicates that scalps have been taken.

The meanings of the other symbols are as follows:

  • Number 1 represents the oldest and main branch of the Delaware tribe by its ancient symbol, the tortoise. The eleven crosses or figures arranged below the tortoise denote the number of persons who were either killed or taken prisoners by this chief
  • Number 2  is the totem, or armorial badge, of Wingemund, denoting him to be the chief
  • Number 3 is the sun; the ten horizontal strokes beneath it denote the number of war-parties in which this chief had participated
  • Number 4 represents men's scalps
  • Number 5 represents women's scalps
  • Number 6 represents male prisoners
  • Number 7 represents female prisoners
  • Number 8 represents a small fort situated on the banks of Lake Erie, which was taken by the Indians in 1762, by surprise
  • Number 9 represents the fort at Detroit, which, in 1763, resisted a siege of three months
  • Number 10 is Fort Pitt
  • Number 11 is a nearby town
  • The twenty-three nearly vertical strokes at the foot of the inscription indicate the strength of the chieftain's party.
Native Indian Symbol
Native American Symbols
Native Indian Tribes Index

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Updated 2018-01-01

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