The Big Hawk Who Hides Behind the Clouds is a very important symbol to Native people. To some, Thunderbird calls the Thunder Beings, to others, they are one and the same; to others still, the Thunderbird is the servant of the thunderers, the symbol and messenger of these beings of fire.
The thunderbird is said to be the biggest hawk to have ever lived on earth. This magnificent hawk was not only good and kindly but very powerful as well. He could sing beautiful songs that would gather others to counsel. He could also sing a song that would draw the rain clouds near. His songs made small game surrender to his mighty talons.
Alas, this mighty bird fell prey to his own ego. He got swept up in his own greatness and became awed with himself. In his dance of arrogance during his last time on earth he was raised to Spirit in a burst of fire from a thunderbolt. Creator gave him another chance by making him a servant to the Thunder BEings, where he gained pleasure by serving others and learning his place in the universe.
Thunderbird lives in Spirit now but comes sometimes to teach us about goodness, kindness, cleansing, and healing. He also reminds us of the fiery pain of displaying too much arrogance. Thunderbird teaches us to rise out of our arrogance and go to serve and heal the people.