The marketing and communications team, in collaboration with Indigenous leaders, Elders and other campus stakeholders, has developed a suite of symbols representing Indigenous cultures from here in Treaty Six and across Saskatchewan. These symbols are integral to the visual identity of the University of Saskatchewan and help us promote and communicate Indigenous initiatives and partnerships. Use of the symbols should align with the following:

  • Each symbol has special meaning in Indigenous culture and misuse of the symbols may be interpreted as a sign of disrespect. These symbols should be used when promoting Indigenous initiatives, or in other communications provided their use is appropriate.

  • Use in conjunction with the University of Saskatchewan visual guidelines. The symbols are not meant to replace our standard visual elements but rather to enhance them in marketing and communications pieces where their use is appropriate.

If you are unsure about whether a use is appropriate, please email

These Indigenous symbols are copyright of the University of Saskatchewan.


The Tipi is a dwelling for First Nations people. Being nomadic people and always on the move, the Tipi was designed for easy transport. Secure, mobile and providing shelter, the Tipi symbolizes the Good Mother sheltering and protecting her children.

Hide With Willow Hoop

First Nations believe that their values and traditions are gifts from the Creator, including the Land, Plants and Animals. Hides are believed to be offered by the animal as the Creator wishes and, therefore, as the animal dies the hunter thanks the animal for its offering.


An extension of an Inuk (a human being), the Inukshuk are left as messages fixed in time and space. They may represent personal notes or a grief marking where a loved one perished. They act as markers to indicate people who knew how to survive on the land living in a traditional way.


The Rainbow is a sign of the great mystery, the Creator’s grace reminding all to respect, love and live in harmony. Rainbow colours are seen as stages in life and they follow individual belief systems of various First Nations.

Eagle Feather

The Eagle Feather is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. The dark and light colours represent balance. It is a very high honour to receive an Eagle Feather, and usually marks a milestone. When one holds the Eagle Feather, one must speak the truth in a positive way, showing respect at all times.

Métis Sash

The Métis Sash is a symbol of present-day Métis identity but had many uses in the early days, often functioning as a rope or a belt. The Infinity sign (∞) on the Sash symbolizes two cultures together and the continuity of the Métis culture. The Sash uses traditional woven patterns and colours to represent individual Métis communities.



The Buffalo symbolizes subsistence, strength and the ability to survive. The Buffalo is a spiritual animal as it provides so many things, including food, clothing, shelter and tools.


Traditionally given to men for ceremony and prayer, the Drum is the heartbeat of the Earth, and feeds our spirit. The Drum has the spirit of the deer and the tree that were offered as a gift from the Creator for the Drum, and it guides people home.

Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel contains four quadrants of life each representing a certain aspect of holistic make-up: intellectual, spiritual, physical and emotional self. The four colours represent the four directions: red, yellow, white and blue (or black, green or darker colours depending on the Indigenous group). Four is a very significant number in Indigenous cultures.


Symbolizing Mother Earth, the Turtle is depicted with 13 inner markings, each representing a cycle of the Earth around the sun. There are 28 smaller outer markings of the shell representing the days of each cycle.

Red River Cart

The primary means of travel and transportation of goods for Métis people, the Red River cart has become synonymous with the Métis.

Star/Star Blanket

The star symbol on Star Blankets ends with eight outer points to represent one’s travels from grandmother, to daughter/son and then to grandchild and to Mother Earth. Eight diamond quilted shapes form the centre and pieces are added to each row to increase the size of the star pattern. Star Blankets are given to individuals at times of life changing events such as births, deaths, graduations and marriages. To give a Star Blanket is to show utmost respect, honour and admiration.