Values & Virtues


February 6, 2016

by Jay Taber

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Totem poles in Thunderbird Park of Victoria, Canada on August 05, 2011


Native American clans — symbolized by totems (i.e. Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Beaver and Swan) — are representative of universal values (i.e. courage, strength, cunning, industry and beauty), that are distinct from wide-spread virtues (i.e. ethics, honor, integrity, decency and nobility), all of which are institutionalized in American Indian special societies (i.e. gourd, medicine, protector, shaman and warrior).




[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at]]