Native Americans

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Native Americans have inhabited this country for many generations. We see so many things that are influenced by the Native Americans and we find ourselves in awe of the independence of these peoples and the culture that they have come from.

When we look at art through the eyes of the Native American we should see a functional and usable art. Art was not for aesthetic reasons; it had real purpose. The folk art that came from these cultures were for religious and moral reasons. Everything that these people had had a necessity in their group. The Kachina is one of these necessities.

The Kachinas were and still are an important part of the religion of the Pueblo Indians, but I will focus on Hopi Indians. The Kachinas were friendly spirits much like our Christian Saints; however there were some evil Kachinas that punish those who disobey Hopi law. The Kachinas play an important role in the various religious ceremonies, many of which take the form of dances and chants. When a Hopi man dresses himself in the costume of a particular Kachina, he believes the spirit of that Kachina has replaced his personal identity. The ceremonies ask the Kachinas to bring plentiful crops, or give the people of the village good health and luck.

Hopi children believe in Kachinas just as American children believe in Santa Clause. In the ceremonies, the children aren't supposed to recognize their fathers, uncles or friends who are taking the role of the Kachinas. And as Santa brings gifts to children, certain Kachinas bring Kachina dolls, fruits, sweets, and other surprises. Kachina dolls are given to the children not as toys, but as something to be treasured and studied so that they may become familiar with the various spirits that are an important part of their religion.

The phenomena of Kachina are relatively new. The religion of the Hopi has not always been in place. As we know, religion is put into place to keep order with in a group or tribe. It sets the standard of how the group is supposed to live. In order to look more closely at the Kachina, we will look at the history of the Hopi Indian.

In the book, The Art of Hopi Carvers, we are told that the Hopi's main ancestors were the Anasazi, a group of people who at about the time of Christ came to depend on agriculture. They were loc...

... middle of paper ... many collectors of these items. A Hopi kachina doll can go easily for $1000 to start. The reason that these go for so much is that the Hopi is thought to be the ultimate kachina craftsman. They are considered the best at their craft. Because of the waterfowl and predatory bird preservation acts, the kachinas are not as they used to be. Also, if you are not a Hopi Indian with ties to the religion, you cannot get an authentic kachina doll or mask. The colors are different. Each color is important to the Hopi and symbolizes something sacred, such as the sky, water, etc. They do not use the same colors and symbols for their retail work.


Kiva Trading Company. Internet. 1997, Kiva Corporation, Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Internet. 2000,, Inc.

The Art of Hopi Carvers. Internet. 1998, University of Arizona Press.

Kachina. Internet. 1998,

Katsina Dolls. Internet.

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