Thomas Doty – Storyteller
Think of this symbol as a method of counting or tallying. Used with other symbols, it might refer to many people or animals, or many days and nights of traveling....
In native rock writings, this symbol is an example of what is called a shortcut. For instance, if you wanted to indicate many people lying down, you could simply carve multiple "lying down" figures. But if you were carving on hard rock, like basalt, this would take a long time. Instead, you might use this "many" symbol next to one "lying down" figure which would mean "many people lying down." Examples of modern shortcuts are emojis or shortened words in text messages. Or, years ago, if you were driving the freeway looking for the exit to the hospital, the sign would have the word "Hospital" spelled out on it. Now there is simply an "H."