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The thunderbird is large and strong enough to hunt its favorite food which is killer whale. The lightning snakes of thunderbird are used during hunts out at sea for killer whale. After capture, thunderbird carries killer whale back to mountain to eat. According to legend, thunderbird and killer whale once battled so hard that entire trees were uprooted. This was explanation why there are treeless prairie regions near Pacific Northwest Coast mountains. The thunderbird and killer whale are often depicted together in Northwest Native American art. A large example is at one by reknowned Northwest Native American art carver Richard Hunt at one of Northwest Native American art exhibits at Vancouver International Airport.
The Squamish Nation in British Columbia, Canada has a thunderbird as their symbol. Their thunderbird is portrayed as one of special messengers of Creator. The Squamish thunderbird is a symbol for strength as well as change with three tail feathers representing past, present and future. In talons of this thunderbird is a face of a lizard which represents spiritual protection for people of Squamish Nation.
For many people, Natives and non-Natives alike, thunderbird has become a symbol of power, strength and nobility. Even classic automobile of same name was reintroduced as a contemporary version.
Clint Leung is owner of Free Spirit Gallery http://www.FreeSpiritGallery.ca , an online gallery specializing in Inuit Eskimo and Northwest Native American art including carvings, sculpture and prints. Free Spirit Gallery has numerous information resource articles with photos of authentic Inuit and Native Indian art as well as free eCards.