In the above photo there has been a common misconception that Little Wolf, a Cheyenne chief, is wearing a large cross.
He isn’t, it is meant to represent a dragonfly which had great significance for a number of plains tribes.
This particular blog results from a person asking me if Little Wolf was a christian and if not why did he wear a cross?
For the Cheyenne the associated symbolism of the dragonfly was in part due to the fact that dragonflies were equated it to a whirlwind having the ability to raise clouds of dust to confuse enemies and by their speed and agility avoid danger.
This speed and maneuverability of hevo’vetas the dragonfly were sought after as a protection that would allow the wearer to avoid arrows and bullets an enemy would send in their direction.
Dragonfly larvae hatch in water and emerge to spend the majority as their lives as nymphs, which can be for a period of years.
Since still water represented death to the Cheyenne, with the dragonflies ability to emerge from such water and in a sense conquer death it became known as a protector of life and a symbol commonly adorning warriors, horses, shields, and even tipis – especially during times of conflict.
Most depictions of hevo’vetas consist of a single line representing the body and two crossing lines representing the four wings – the one Little Wolf is shown wearing is a variation on that, but nonetheless a dragonfly and not a cross.
Dragonfly symbolism is to be found among most every nation in this country, what it represents may vary but respect is a constant.
The third photo is of a dragonfly nymph I added thinking many may have seen one and not quite sure what it was.
In the insect world dragonflies are voracious predators, good to encourage their presence in gardens, and any place mosquitoes are present.