The Wonder of Native American Fetish Carvings

Fetishes are hand-carved of many different materials. They are usually designed to resemble different animals or religious symbols.

The Zunis believe animals have special powers and that these carvings are full of those unique properties of the animal to bring them good luck.

There are six directions in Zuni beliefs, and a symbolic color and animal guardian for each of them:

NorthYellowMountain Lion
Inner EarthBlackMole

Some fetishes have prayer bundles on their backs for medicine and to help their message or prayer be heard. They may include arrowheads to protect them on their journey, and are bound to the fetish with sinew which is known for its strength. Coral may be included to represent ocean life, turquoise to represent the sky or birds, black for night, white for winter, brown for earth.


Other fetishes may be inlaid with a heart line. This will starts at the mouth since breath is the living spirit. They end at the soul which is where faith, spirit and inner strength are held. 

Many Native Americans believe their fetishes need special care - that the fetish should be offered corn meal and given great admiration as befits its great spirit and purpose. The better it is treated the better it will perform is the central belief.

Be sure to call, email or come by the gallery if you are thinking of adding to your own fetish collection! We currently have one of the largest collections in the country of new and antique fetishes!

Our friendly sales staff would be delighted to answer your questions, or assist you in finding the perfect fetish for you!

Some Common Fetish Meanings

ArmadilloKeeper of the home, slow and sure to get things done right. Thick skinned and reserved, he represents variety in a person's inner life.
BadgerPersistent and passionate, badgers have great knowledge of the earth and  won't give up until they get what they want.
BatGuardian of the night
BearGuardian of the West, Bear is a spiritual guide with supernatural powers. Strong, introspective and gifted with self knowledge. White bear fetishes are the most powerful medicine bears
BeaverIndustrious and hard-working, Beaver represents achievement and promotes family unity.
Bobcat (Lynx)The hunting animal of the South, bearing the ability to see the future and know secrets. This fetish is often used when hunting antelope.
BuffaloRepresenting abundance and emotional courage, Buffalo has the endurance to overcome. He is the prophet.
ButterflyRepresents transformation and beauty.
Corn MaidenShe represents creation, strength and wisdom.
CoyoteThe master trickster, Coyote brings laughter and humor. He works well in a group and can laugh at himself.
CrowKeeper of the sacred law
DeerGentle and able to sacrifice for the greater good, Deer represents agility, speed and grace.
DogRepresents loyalty and friendship.
DolphinRepresents trust and friendship.
DuckRepresents the spirits of those who have passed on.
EagleConnected to the Creator, Eagle has healing power. His soaring spirit can overcome personal problems. He represents vision, intuition and creativity.
ElkElk has great stamina and represents confidence and strength.
FalconIntuitive and with the ability to see the big picture, Falcon represents harmony and power.
FishA purifier with the ability to hide emotion.
FoxClever and observant, Fox has the ability to blend in.
FrogRepresenting fertility and the cycle of life, Frog is used to invite rain.
HawkThe messenger of the gods, representing energy and inspiration.
HorsePossessing healing powers, Horse represents partnership, speed and strength.
LizardRepresents patience, wisdom, communication and agility.
MoleThe guardian of the underground, Mole is grounded and has awareness and introspection.
Mountain LionGuardian of the North, Mountain Lion represents leadership and resourcefulness. This fetish is often carried by travelers for protection and by hunters for guidance and a successful hunt.
MouseRepresents scrutiny and attention to detail.
OtterRepresents balanced femininity.
OwlGuardian of the home, Owl sees what others cannot. Wise, true and patient.
ParrotRepresenting the sun, Parrot is like a rainbow, made with rain, sun and light.
PorcupineRepresenting the power of trust and faith.
RabbitRepresenting gentleness, serenity and virtue, Rabbit is the special guardian of women in childbirth and brings long life to children.
RaccoonA bandit who is shy, yet resourceful.
RamA herd animal, this fetish is used to increase the number of animals.
RavenClever and magical, Raven represents a change in consciousness. The messenger of mystery who guides us through dark times.
SnakeSymbolizing life, death and rebirth, Snake has curative powers and helps us connect with primitive energies. He represents lightning.
SpiderRepresenting the creative patterns in life.
SquirrelIndustrious and intelligent,Squirrel represents the ability to plan ahead and is the protector of stored reserves.
SkunkRepresenting inner strength and self-respect, Skunk has a good reputation.
TurtleThe symbol of Mother Earth, longevity, tenacity, self-confidence and reliability.
WolfWolf is the pathfinder and teacher, mating for life and displaying loyalty and family values.