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The Q’anápsu Frog (šwaqʼíq)
Frog is a very important symbol in Northwest coast Native art and culture. We can find him on totem poles, house posts, as well as many house hold items. Frog is a supernatural being which inhabits the human, as well as the spirit world. He adapts easily to his environment and communicates between the two realms. In the natural world, Frog can easily switch between water and land and is associated with springtime, renewal, and the changing of the seasons.
When spring comes, and frogs start to croak loudly, it is the signal for tribes of the Northwest coast to end their winter ceremonies and prepare for the next hunting and fishing season. Many Native customs all over North and South America recognize Frog as a healer. Some old European traditions also recognize his ability to heal, and many believe that his songs are magical and contain divine power. Frogs are seen as cleansers of bad spirits, and Shamans use frogs as Spirit Helpers.
In Northwest coastal art, Frog is usually depicted with a wide mouth and protruding tongue. On totem poles it occupies the bottom with its legs stretched out to symbolize stability. On Haida house posts, Frog is depicted to lend structural stability. Frogs also represent wealth, abundance, ancient wisdom, rebirth, and good luck. As such, the Frog symbol plays an important part in Northwest coast cultures.