Piikani Symbology: Morning Star & Stars

Even some of the most simple design elements in Piikani art have roots in some of the most important traditional stories, making for a bold and graphic aesthetic all the while being rich with meaning. Check out this brief guide to learn more about the Piikani symbology found in my artwork!

Much of Piikani symbology includes the imagery of the Morning star, as well as other stars and constellations. In Piikani origin stories the Moon married the Sun, and the son they had was the Morning Star. The Morning Star is often found on Piikani painted medicine lodges, depicted as a cross looking symbol on the back. You’ll see numerous circles on Piikani painted medicine lodges as well, which represent stars. Similar circles can be found on tipi flaps, representing constellations and star bunches. When these circles are found at the bottom of painted medicine lodges, they represent falling stars.


The Buffalo Medicine phone case features Piikani stars along the top and bottom borders, with a prominent Morning Star at the top center of the design

Piikani painted medicine lodges are sacred, and come with their own bundles and songs. My grandfather was an owner of an Antelope painted medicine lodge, the songs and bundle for which were lost. Many of the designs on the Piikani painted lodges are designs from long ago that originated from dreams and have been transferred from person to person, while other Piikani lodges are renewed designs.

After setting out to learn about the design, I was eventually transferred the rights to paint Piikani painted medicine lodges, and will be renewing my grandfather’s Antelope medicine lodge. I feel that I’m a lifelong student of Piikani painted lodges. Sometimes there are several variations of a design. Like a beaver, elk, buffalo, and otter design. A lot of these designs and symbols are also heavily incorporated onto my art.