Many Native American tribes have symbolic meanings for their brothers the animals. Nature is such a part of their culture and spiritual identity, that every thing has a purpose and meaning. These meanings are quite in depth if studied and may vary a bit from tribe to tribe. But here are a few to give you some insights on this idea.
BEAR - Strength, protection, nurturing and introspection (hibernation)
BUFFALO - Abundance, gratitude and prayer
DRAGONFLY - Messenger of prayers to the Spirit World, guide to positive and new ideas.
EAGLE - Spiritual vision which enables one to see the whole picture.
FROG - Cleansing and beginning of life.
HORSE - Freedom and power, but power that respects and is wise.
OWL - Wisdom by seeing and hearing things that others cannot.
SNAKE - Power to discard the old for new ways, to transform negative to positive.
TURTLE - Patience to wait for the right moment, Respect for earth, protection of thought before sharing.
WOLF - Teaching for the good of the clan, preserving independence, leadership