Native American Totems

Carvings which represent the spirits of animals or the forces of nature. From the earliest times in North America, the Indians have used fetishes in an effort to master the unpredictable forces beyond their control. The earliest fetishes are called Ahlashiwe or stone ancients by the Zuni. Fetish totems are considered powerful and were formerly t...

Carvings which represent the spirits of animals or the forces of nature. From the earliest times in North America, the Indians have used fetishes in an effort to master the unpredictable forces beyond their control. The earliest fetishes are called Ahlashiwe or stone ancients by the Zuni. Fetish totems are considered powerful and were formerly thought to be ancient animals or people turned to stone. All Southwestern tribes make and use fetishes. Zuni believe that animals, as well as inanimate objects and the forces of nature, have a spirit force, which can either help or hurt man. It is believed that the carved animal fetishes host that spiritual force and, if treated properly, will help their owners to overcome the problems facing them. The characteristics of the fetish animals and their possible usefulness for the owner are the basis of their selection. Fetishes are often inlaid with an arrow known as the heart line which is believed to give the fetish healing or medicinal power.

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