Indigenous artwork on the Pacific Northwest Coast often incorporates figures and animals that are related to crest symbols. Crests have been passed down through families and have varying meanings depending on the context and association with a nation, clan, or family. The figures depicted in contemporary Northwest Coast Indigenous artwork also have varying meanings but there are some common characteristics from a range of sources, including oral histories and artist descriptions.
On the Northwest Coast, feathers are often used in ceremonial contexts. The most commonly depicted feather is the Eagle feather and is considered one of the most sacred and honoured gifts given to an individual. Feathers generally symbolize respect, communication, healing, and hospitality. They can also be symbolic of supernatural powers.