In traditional American Indian religious belief the hawk is considered a messenger. As Mercury was believed to have carried messages to the ancient Greeks from the Gods, American Indians believed that the hawk with his ability to glide upon the air currents, seemingly indefinitely, could cross into the spirit world to bring messages from the spirits back to the people. When a hawk circled overhead, it was thought that he was telling you to pay attention to your surroundings. If he screeched he was telling you to beware of something dangerous ahead. This understanding was important to hunter-gatherers whose very life could depend on something as insignificant as the flight of a bird. The ancients depended on signs and instinct to conduct their daily lives. Not being observant to your surroundings could mean the difference between life and death. The belief is we should pay attention to our surroundings, especially in our current environment. The hawk is still very important to Native American beliefs and his feathers, considered sacred, are used for prayer purposes. Hawk talons and feathers are used to make dance regalia and for use in prayer ceremonies. If a hawk flies overhead or screeches, pay attention to your surroundings, he just might just be sending a message to you.