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.
There are several species of Hawks living on the Northwest Coast. Hawks are not as notable as Eagles; however, their feathers have also been used for ceremonial and decorative works. Hawk is often associated with the Sun and is said to be revered for its superior vision and skill in hunting. It is sometimes described as representing insight and able to recall memories. In some oral traditions, this bird is personified as the transformation beings Hawk Man and Hawk Woman. In artwork, Hawk can be identified by a short, curved beak.