Sanford Williams uses animals and elements in his carvings to represent emotions, actions, traditions, and relationships. The following is common to Nuu Chah Nulth west coast native art.

Bear – self-awareness, strength, protector of the animal kingdom

Beaver – understanding and respect for nature, good work ethic, strong sense of family

Butterfly – accept change, balance, grace, symbol of beauty

Dragonfly – accept change, transformation, swiftness, self-understanding, emotional maturity

Eagle – grace, power, intellect, foresight, chieftainship, guidance, strength

Frog – cleansing, peace, rebirth, good fortune, divine power, magic

Halibut – promise of abundant food source

Heron – grace, purity, patience, long life

Hummingbird – beauty, intelligence, love, joy, friendship, playfulness

Kingfisher – prosperity and love from within

Loon – tranquility, communication, serenity, generosity

Moon – guardian of earth, protector of humans at night, vision, direction, guidance, moods

Octopus – sea spirit helper, powerful, enigmatic

Owl – wisdom, foresight, keeper of sacred knowledge, guardianship

Raven – change in life, creativity, humour, teacher of right from wrong, bringer of light

Salmon – instinct, determination, persistence, abundance, wealth, prosperity, good luck (in pairs)

Sun – healing, energy, life

Thunderbird – power, protection, vigilantism

Whale – kindness, intelligence, compassion, romance, family values, unity in numbers

Wind – great power, strength, endurance, movement, inter-connection of all living things

Wolf – relationships, teamwork, perseverance, intuition, success, wisdom, loyalty, balance, protection