Native American Bandana by Melvin War Eagle


Melvin War Eagle is a Native American artist from Kyle, SD. His bandanas are truly a piece of wearable art, featuring facets of Native American life.  Bandanas measure 22″ square and the fabric is 100% cotton by Hanblechia Designs.

“Bear Spirit”:  The tag on “Bear Spirit” reads as follows: “Lakota believed that the Bear had great power and strength. It was understood that the Bear Spirit (who is of the tobtob : good spirits) and his great wisdom was able to protect the people. The Bear Spirit was responsible for giving the people medicine to heal their sick. When the Bear Spirit would visit the people, some tribes would paint their tipis with a large bear wrapped around it, calling it the Hugging Lodge (to give it the name Bear Hugging was forbidden, for the bear was held in such high esteem its name could not be uttered), this provided the family protection and health. The Bear Spirit in this design provides the wearer with strength, wisdom and good health. The red arrows going through the bear’s mouth was given to the dreamer, indicating the exact place where the Spirit Bear holds its wakan (sacred) power.”

Color: red with white and blue

“Wind Spirit”:  The tag on “Wind Spirit” reads as follows: “Long ago, when the earth was still young, Tate’s (the Wind) wife, Ite, had given birth to four sons (the Four Winds). Because of Ite’s misdeeds, the Great Spirit banished her and commanded that her four sons go out into the earth, to establish the four directions. Tate placed his lodge in the centre of the world and waited for his sons’ return. As time passed, each of the four brothers explored their part of the earth, and Tate stayed at the centre of the earth, counting the moons for their return. When 12 moons had passed, the brothers returned to the center of the earth, where the Great Spirit gave each brother one of the directions they established. This created the four seasons, four directions and the yearly cycle; the establishment of Native American life and connection to the sacred circle. This design represents the journey the Four Winds (brothers) took to establish North, South, East and West, and Tate (their father) awaiting for their return in the center.”

Color: tan, red, black, white

“Fire Spirit”: The tag on “Sire Spirit” reads as follows: “Fire was seen as very sacred to the Lakota.  It was believed to be part of the “Four Ages” or phases of life; from birth to death. During the cycle of life one travels from infancy to teenager, from man or women hood, to the last stage of life; old age, the time of wisdom and teach others through this wisdom.  Fire (pheta) represents the power of Tunkasla(great grand father), which gives life to all things” (-Black Elk).

Color: white, black, yellow, red

“Deeds Well Done”: The tag on “Deeds Well Done” reads as follows: “Lakota people considered feathers as very sacred symbols.  They were used on sacred pipes, ceremonies, and tied ion the hair.  Different feathers meant different things, for example; the green feather of the mallard drake embodied generosity and hospitality. The red feather of the redheaded woodpecker symbolized holiness and sincerity.  These particular feathers were only worn by holy men.  The eagle feather was the representation of purity of life, divine spirit, and freedom.  The Lakota believed that the eagle was the leader of the bird nation. He has great power and is the only one able to fly high enough to reach the Great father. He sees all things on earth.  To be given a feather was a great honor. It meant that you had done a great deed and proven yourself. This eagle feather shows that the wear is respected by the people. The blue symbolizes wisdom and confidence, the red is all things that are sacred, and white is the human emotion of pleasure.”

Color: red, white, blue

“Native Outlaw”: The tag on “Native Outlaw” reads as follows; “In this design, the artist wanted to highlight the connections of the old ways with modern life. The overall design represents the struggles one goes through in life, the ups and downs, the good and bad, the past and the present. To stand-up for what we believe in, whether it be popular or not, takes great courage and belief.”

Color: black, white, orange

“Buffalo Spirit”: The tag on “Buffalo Spirit” reads as follows: “It is believed among my people, the Oglala Lakota Sioux, that long, long ago the people once lived in the underworld, where they had always been comfortable. One day, Iktomi, the spider (trickster), tricked the People (Buffalo People – Pte Oyate) and told them that life would be much better if they were to live on top of the earth. The people came out from the underworld at a place known today as “Wind Cave” in the Black Hills of modern-day South Dakota. When the people came out they realized that life was very harsh, and they were unable to return to the underworld again. On seeing the suffering, Tatanka, a Holy man who warned the people not to go, turned himself into a buffalo so the people would have food and shelter. Tatanka, stayed with the people and became a great Nation, always connected and related to the Lakota.”

Color: black, white, red

“Honor and Strength”: The tag of “Honor and Strength” reads as follows: “Colors and symbols were very important to the Native Americans, telling others about the person’s intent, attributes, status, and their spirit helpers. The hand print, for instance, symbolized success in battle and was considered a great honor for a warrior to paint his favorite horse with such a  symbol.  In this designs the hand prints are painted red, indicating that the wearer has strength, power, success, honor, and the protection of the Sacred Spirits.”

Color: black, white, red

“Sun Bear”: The tag of “Sun Bear” reads as follows: “The “Sun Bear” (Mato Wi) design is the representation of life’s journey.  It is said that the Sun (Wi) brings life to all, and red is his color, for this is what we see when he begins and ends his daily journey (sunrise and sunset). Yellow is symbolic of the Thunderbeings, and they help us on our journey. The bears show the spirit of their healing powers that help humans when they are sick. Lakota believe that the four colors on this design are part of the sacred circle, the ongoing circle of life and death, the journey one must take to fulfill his/her purpose”

Color: yellow, red, black, white

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