Turtle Symbol


Fetishism & Native American Animal Totems

Native American Fetishism. Discover facts and information about the culture of Native American Indians and their belief in the concept of Fetishism

  • Fetishism and Native American Indian animists
  • Definition of Fetishism and animists
  • Meaning of Fetishism
  • Fetishism and religious beliefs
  • Interesting facts and information about Fetishism and the culture, legends, myths and beliefs of Native American Indians
Native American Culture
Native Indian Tribes Index

Definition of Fetishism: What is Fetishism? Fetishism is a subsidiary branch of the belief in Animism that encompasses the doctrine that spirits or supernatural power embody, attach or convey influence through, certain animals or material objects. Some animals are believed to empower a person or group with the associated trait of an animal. Certain animals are believed to empower a person or group with the associated trait of an animal. Fetishes were commonly used in
Native American Religion and practices. In the belief of Fetishism the beaver represented the builder and keeper for family unity, the raven was the healer, the mountain lion was the warrior, and the wolf was the pathfinder. All Southwestern Native American tribes make, and use, fetishes and adhere to the belief in Fetishism .

Fetishism and Animism - Animal Totems and their Meanings
Many Native American Indian tribes hold the belief that their people have animal totems that are spirit guides who might appear in dreams, or Vision Quests, in the form of an animal. These Animal Totems, or spirit guides, walk through life with the people, teaching and guiding them, and in some instances protecting them. The Animal Totems adopted by many Native American tribes are detailed in Tribal Totems. Animal Totems also included supernatural creatures of mythology and legend, such as the Thunderbird, all of which had a special meanings, characteristics and significance.



Fetishism - Animal Fetish Meanings and Significance
Each animal fetish had a special meaning, characteristics and significance. The following chart details many of the Animal fetishes used by Southwest Native Indian Tribes. The meanings of each of the Animal fetishes are also detailed, although there might be some regional and tribal variations to their symbolism and meanings.

Fetishism - Chart of Animal Fetish Meanings and Roles

Fetishism & Meanings


Keeper of the Home


Armadillo - Methodical, accurate, slow and steady

 Fetishism & MeaningsBadger Guardian of the South

Badger - Bold, out-going, good communicator

 Fetishism & MeaningsBat Guardian of the Night

Bat - Death and Rebirth

 Fetishism & MeaningsBeaverGuardian of the Family

Beaver - Creative and Artistic ability, builder, resourcefulness and determination

 Fetishism & MeaningsBearGuardian of the West

Bear - Strength, Solitude, Motherhood, Teaching Meaning of Bear

 Fetishism & MeaningsButterfly
Guardian of Change

Butterfly - Represents transformation and the ability to accept change

 Fetishism & MeaningsCoyoteHunter of the West

Coyote - Helps you recognize your own mistakes, Stealth, Clowning and Humor

 Fetishism & MeaningsCrowKeeper of the Sacred Law

Crow - Find balance living in present, release past beliefs, Skill and Cunning

 Fetishism & MeaningsDeerCustodian of Gratitude

Deer - Healing, Gentleness, kindness & compassion

 Fetishism & MeaningsDogGuardian of Loyalty

Dog - Guidance, Loyalty and trust

 Fetishism & MeaningsEagleGuardian of the Skies

Eagle - Great Strength, courage Leadership and Prestige

 Fetishism & MeaningsElkGuardian of Bravery

Elk - Bravery, agility and independence

 Fetishism & MeaningsFalconKeeper of Harmony

The Falcon - Soul Healing, Speed and Movement

 Fetishism & MeaningsFrogBringer of News

Frog - Spring & New Life, Sensitivity, Communicator, Stability

 Fetishism & MeaningsHawkMessenger of the gods

The Hawk - Guardianship, Strength, Far Sighted

 Fetishism & MeaningsHorse
Keeper of Partnerships

Horse - Energy, Power, Message carrier, communicates with other realms

 Fetishism & MeaningsHummingbird
Guardian of Time

Hummingbird - Love, Beauty, Intelligence, Spirit Messenger and Stopper of Time

 Fetishism & MeaningsLizardGuardian of Hope

The Lizard - Awareness, Conservation, subconscious hopes and fears

 Fetishism & MeaningsMooseBringer of Long Life

The Moose - Headstrong, Balance and Longevity

 Fetishism & MeaningsMouseGuardian of Diligence

Mouse - Observant qualities and diligence

 Fetishism & MeaningsOtterKeeper of Laughter

The Otter - Feminine Power, Playful, Trusting, Inquisitive, Bright, Loyal and speedy

 Fetishism & MeaningsOwlProtector of the Home

The Owl - Wisdom, silent and swift, ability to see things normally, a creature of the night

 Fetishism & MeaningsRaven The Healer

Raven - Creation & Knowledge - Bringer of the Light

 Fetishism & MeaningsPorcupine
Power of Faith

Porcupine - Safety and Protection

 Fetishism & MeaningsSnakePower of Transformation

The Snake - Rebirth, Resurrection, Initiation and Transformation

 Animals Totem & MeaningTurtleGuardian of Mother Earth

The Turtle - Self-Reliance, Tenacity, Slow Progress

 Fetishism & MeaningsWolfThe Pathfinder

The Wolf - Intelligence & Leadership


Fetishism - Chart of Animal Fetish Meanings and Roles

Fetishism - Animal Fetish Meanings and Significance
Representations of fetishes are made into small amulets or charms used for protection and healing and made from various materials by many different Native American Tribes. These objects serve a ceremonial purpose and depict animals and icons integral to the culture of tribe of the artisan. The fetish objects are believed to have supernatural energies that can help their owners. The Zuni Southwest Indian tribe is particularly associated with the belief of Fetishism and for their stone fetishes. The Zuni believed that the fetishes were real animals that had been turned to stone by the sons of the Sun Father and that their life force was still inside the stone making fetishes extremely powerful. The following items provide a list of materials used to represent animals and create fetishes:

  • Various stones and crystals including turquoise, limestone and alabaster
  • Wood
  • Clay
  • Feathers
  • Sea shells
  • Fur
  • Leather


Fetishism is encompassed in a range of Native American Beliefs
Fetishism is not a religion as such but is mixed with other beliefs such as Animism, that, taken as a whole have strong religious connotations. The idea and concept behind Fetishism, and the belief of Animists, is that people have a spiritual connection or kinship with animals and some supernatural creatures. Fetishism was part of a range of beliefs of the Native American Indians especially the Southwest Indian tribes that also included:

  • Ritualism & Ceremonialism the use of ancient practises, rituals and ceremonies to further existing beliefs - refer to Animal Totems and Power Animals
  • Totemism - Totemism was practiced by Northwest Indian tribes and centered around the belief of having a natural object or animate being, such as as a bird or animal, as the emblem of a family, clan, or tribe. Totemism encompassed a system of tribal organization according to their totems
  • Animism - Animism is a belief based on the spiritual idea that the universe, and all natural objects within the universe, have souls or spirits. It is believed that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in animals, plants, trees, rocks etc.
  • Shamanism - A range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world in which a religious leader, like a Shaman, enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community including sickness - refer to Spiritual Healing

The concepts of Fetishism, Totemism, Ritualism, Animism and Shamanism should all be considered to gain a full understanding of the religious beliefs of the Native American tribes who practised Fetishism.



  • Native American Fetishism
  • Fetishism and the beliefs of Animists
  • The Culture of Fetishism
  • Words and terminology associated with Fetishism
  • Meanings of Fetishes & Fetishism
  • Native American Indian Fetishism, culture and religious beliefs


Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Fetishism. Discover the vast selection of pictures which relate to the History of Native Americans and illustrate many decorations and tattoos used by American Indians. The pictures show the clothing, tattoos, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes that can be used as a really useful educational history resource for kids and children of all ages and a means to study their interpretation. We have included pictures to accompany the main topic of this section - Native American Culture. The videos enable fast access to the images, paintings and pictures together with information and many historical facts. All of the articles can be accessed via the Native Indian Tribes Index.


Fetishism - Fetishes - Definition - Meaning - Reasons - Purpose - Teaching resource - Teachers - Kids - Native American Culture - Indian - Animism - Fetishism - Religion - Culture - Beliefs - Traditional - Indians - Definition - Meaning - Reasons - Fetishes -  Fetishism - Purpose - Beliefs - Fetishism - Customs - Custom - Kids - Pictures - Info - Information - Definition - Fetishes - Fetishism - Meaning - Reasons - Purpose - Tribe - Tribes - Native Americans - Native American Indian - Animism - Fetishism - Studies - Animism - Fetishism - Native American Culture - Animism - Fetishism - Written By Linda Alchin