A symbol that looks like a swastika is sacred to some Native Americans | Anita Durairaj

The symbol that looks like a swastika in some Navajo artwork is not really a “swastika” with all the negative connotations associated with Nazi Germany. In fact, the swastika means “well-being” in the Sanskrit language.

For Native Americans, including the Navajo, Sioux, Comanche, Apache, Pima, and some other tribes, the swastika symbol represents luck and well-being.

It may be a thousand years old, but the swastika is the “swirling log” of life in Navajo culture. For Navajos, it is unfortunate that the swastika is confused with death and destruction instead of sanctity.

Instead, the symbol represents humanity, life, and healing. It is still used as a symbol in Navajo ceremonies.

The symbol is also seen in artwork, blankets, jewelry, pottery, and books. It first appeared in early Native American artifacts such as those excavated from Hopewell Mound in Ohio that date back to 200 BCE to 500 CE.

While the swastika symbol was fairly common among the Navajo and mostly used in their artwork, there was a period in the 1930s when it was rarely used.

Even today, the swastika remains a sacred subject and some Navajo artists are reluctant to talk about it. However, some contemporary artists today use the symbol in their work as a reminder of its importance in Navajo culture.

The swastika is not just a lucky charm for Native Americans. It is also a symbol of good luck in other religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Nohemi M. Moore