Everything to Know About Native American Statues | Maya Gallery

Native Americans, and their story, have become the inspiration for several categories of art. Whether it’s hand-painted art, pieces of furniture, or a sculpture, Native American art has been popular for thousands of years.

Sculptures are currently one of the most beautiful, detailed, and fantastic pieces of art. Some sculptures (or American Indian statues) may involve Indian warriors with their weapons. On the other hand, you can also find particular art pieces, like a bust of an Indian chief. Some of these sculptures are even hand-painted by the artists, adding much more detail and value to the piece.

Still, there’s a lot of history surrounding American Indian statues. While contemporary artists make these sculptures with the intention of representing the Native Americans in detail, Native Americans themselves have created sculptures that were used for ceremonies, according to research.

The following page will cover some of the history surrounding American Indian statues, as well as some items you can currently take a look at. Our job at Maya Gallery is not just to be any business or art company, but rather to educate our proud visitors on how these items could perfectly add a nice touch of color, style, and detail to their home.

If you’re interested in learning more about Native Americans and their sculpture findings, keep reading!

What Are Native Statues Called?

To get the history of Native Americans right, we have to go back a few thousand years back. According to the findings of several archeologists, the earliest form of a Native American statue was called a “fetish,” and it represented a statue or carving of an animal. These statues were allegedly used in religious ceremonies since Native Americans believed that each statue had supernatural energy inside it.

The most interesting part about these statues is that they’re still sought-after today. Moreover, a few tribes, such as the Zuni tribe, still carve fetishes. Fetishes are often decorated with stones, feathers, shells, and many other accessories.

According to history, the earliest instances of fetishes were called “Ahlashiwe.” People from the Zuni tribe believed that the Ahlashiwe were real animals that were turned to stone due to the power of the Sun Father.

As many Zuni people claim, these fetishes still had the animals’ life force inside them, which made them “powerful” items that caught the attention of everyone. Moreover, they believed the Ahlashiwe provided a connection between the Zuni and the spirit world.

The Animals Inside the Ahlashiwe

UntitledAccording to the Zuni people, there were six particular animals for these sculptures; each animal represented one of the six directions.

First, they had the North, which was represented by the mountain lion. Here, the fetish was seen as an item that could protect people working on long-term projects. As for the East, it was represented by the wolf, which helped people in search of their destiny.

The South was represented by the badger, which helped healing ailments and finding the right tools to work with. Furthermore, the West involved the bear, which represented the healing of the body and spirit.

Finally, we have the earth and sky directions. The earth was represented by the mole, which was believed to protect crops, and the sky was represented by the eagle, which involved spiritual healing and the journey to the spirit world.

Materials Used

Generally speaking, fetishes were carved from amber, coral, turquoise, serpentine, jet, antler, and dolomite. Some items were much more expensive than others, but they all represented the categories mentioned above, as well as the power and honor that the Zuni people give each statue.

The Zuni currently carve fetishes for personal use, but they also keep creating them for other Indians and collectors. However, fetishes are not that common in categories of Native American statues. Today, it’s more common to see busts that portray people, including John Peters, the Supreme Medicine Man of Wampanoag, and Princess Evening Star, who was also related to the Wampanoag.

What Do American Indian Statues Mean?

In our art gallery, you will find a wide list of categories of statues to look at. You may be wondering what makes each of these statues unique or what they mean. Generally speaking, it’s a bit challenging to tell what each statue means since most of them set different perspectives.

Overall, these statues were intended to be used as a means of worship, to act as containers for other items or furniture, or to perform a service in general. In the case of Native American figurines, for example, you will notice each one has particular clothing, weapons, and stances.

As you already know by reading the first part of this page, most Native American statues involved animals, and they were used to represent spiritual healing and meanings. On the other hand, human statues were created to represent fighting, dancing, or working stances.

Hopi/Kachina Dolls

These are some of the most popular figurines made by Native Americans, specifically the Zuni and Hopi tribes. Overall, these dolls were made of wood, beads, leather, feathers, and other materials, and they were symbols that people could use to ward off evil spirits and for good luck.


On the other hand, we have the totems (or totem poles), which are some of the most popular sculpture pieces you can find from proud tribes. These sculptures often represent families, clans, individuals, status, and more. Each totem is accompanied by a particular animal, which was referred to as a “power animal” or “spirit guide.”

In essence, each category of sculpture could mean something different. However, most sculptures (if not all of them) represent spiritual guidance and company.

Who Was the Most Famous Native American?

There’s not a single “most famous” Native American. However, there are several of them, These people fought for years for respect and recognition, and their efforts are still valued by their people today, making them worthy of attention.

Some popular Native American leaders include:

  • Geronimo
  • Chief Joseph
  • Sitting Bull
  • Black Hawk
  • Crazy Horse
  • Red Cloud
  • Sacagawea
  • Tamanend
  • Powhatan

Still, there are dozens of other proud leaders who fought for their people years ago, leaving a mark of bravery and hope.

Inaccurate Depictions of Native Americans in Sculptures

While most sculptures depicting Native Americans are seen as a sign of respect and admiration toward a particular person, tribe, or family, there have been some claims recently surrounding inaccurate representations.

Some Native Americans have claimed that particular statues or art pieces represent how they were mistreated or people who fought them, which is seen as a sign of disrespect. A particular case of this happened with a statue of Tedyuscung from the Lenape tribe. This statue currently stands in Wissahickon Park.

While there’s nothing wrong with the statue itself, Native Americans claim that the statue is wearing a Western Plains headdress, which is not worn in the East. This caused several Native American people to state that some of these statues were created under the “white gaze,” meaning that they were made as to how “white people” imagined the Indians looked like.

Other cases of inaccurate or disrespectful representations of these people involve the Philadelphia Cricket Club, which uses a logo that has an Indian head. Some other people claim that Native Americans are only used as a narrative when talking about a city’s founding process without realizing that these people are still living here today and that they deserve support and respect as any other group of people.

Currently, the United States houses approximately 573 federally recognized tribes, which isn’t a small number. Overall, many activists are actively fighting for brands and people to stop using Native American imagery in a disrespectful manner.

What Sculptures Can You Find at Maya Gallery?

Maya Gallery’s contemporary collection includes a plethora of art pieces with different price ranges. If you’re interested in any deals surrounding an art piece, you can enter the virtual gallery or attend the physical one and place an order for one of these pieces. We also have a blog with more information surrounding art and each product in our listing.

You can also send us an email with your queries at info@mayagallery.com. If you have the time, make sure to join our newsletter to know everything about upcoming art pieces and information.

Regarding our collection, we have several different art pieces ranging from hand-painted art to bronze sculptures. All of these pieces are accurate representations of Native Americans, and they can add a nice touch to your home or office. Some sculptures you can take a look at include the following:

The Crow Warrior – Todd Paxton

This beautiful sculpture represents, at first glance, a warrior who is ready for battle and victory. According to history, the Crow warrior wore birds on his head during ceremonies, which represented internal preparation for battle. The sculpture shows that the Crow had everything necessary to win in battle, which was his weapon of choice, a shield, and a menacing stare.

Moreover, the Crow has a clenched fist, which represents his conviction of winning in battle. Overall, the sculpture has a rather interesting stance. Artist Todd Paxton claims that he made the sculpture that way because he believed that stance would depict the battle in plain sight.

Another interesting piece of information about the Crow is that he didn’t put war paint on his face before battle, as many other tribes did. Instead, he painted his face after battle to represent its outcome. If he lost, he would wear white, and if he won, he would wear black. In particular cases, he wore both black and white, which meant that he suffered a loss in battle but was victorious.

As for the general meaning of the sculpture, some people see the Crow’s statue as a sign of being prepared for any obstacles or “battles” you may have. The battle could be health or money problems. In essence, it tries to represent that, if you prepare yourself emotionally, mentally, and spiritually for hardships, you will become victorious, even if that sometimes involves having a loss.

Victory Dance – Marie Barbera

This is a figurine made from polychrome bronze and painted with white, turquoise, black/gray, and golden colors. As the name implies, the sculpture is supposed to depict a victory dance. An interesting thing about these sculptures is how the figurine is standing.

Overall, it’s standing on one foot while the other one is in the air, which gives the sensation of movement. Moreover, the person depicted in the statue is covered in white feathers, which add to the sensation of movement.

While there’s not much information on the origins of this category of statues, it’s a beautiful set to have at any place. The white color is the most prominent one here, so it could match any setting you could be looking for.

Honeymoon at Crow Fair – John Coleman

The incredible artist John Coleman made this statue in full bronze. Overall, it represents two Native Americans riding a horse while the “driver” holds an umbrella. This sculpture was made in several different sizes, and the most remarkable part about it is how detailed it is. Everything from the horse to the clothing the two people are wearing shows how much John Coleman was dedicated to making a remarkable art piece.

Eagle Dancer – Allan Houser

Allan Houser has arranged (up until today) 35 solo shows, 21 solo museum exhibitions, and 26 group exhibits around Arizona and New Mexico. As for the Eagle Dancer, it was first cast in 1967, and it represents a figure in the shape of someone doing the Eagle Dance.

The “Eagle Dance” is a ritual dance that is practiced by some tribes. One of the most interesting things about this dance is that each tribe saw it as a sign of something different. The Iroquois, for example, used the Eagle Dance to ask for health and peace, whereas the Pueblos used it to ask for rain.

Other people saw the Eagle Dance as a war dance, and they used it to prepare for battle or negotiations. As mentioned before, the Eagle is an important animal in Native American culture because they believe these animals can fly close to the Great Spirit. Therefore, eagles are seen as a sign of wisdom, strength, and power.

Native Americans also see Eagle feathers as a symbol of honor, so they were given to boys when they became adults. As history claims, these feathers had to be managed with extreme care.

Just for Kids – Robin Laws

Robin Laws is popular because of her ability to create animal sculptures. Overall, these sculptures capture the sensitive or humorous side of animals, according to people. The artist claims she has been studying animals since she was little, which was what inspired her to create her sculptures.

The “Just for Kids” sculpture is one of many beautiful representations of animal interaction, making it a nice item to view and consider.

Representing Art the Right Way

We at Maya Gallery take art very seriously, especially when it comes to Native American statues. Thanks to our hard work, we’ve been able to source art from every part of the world and represent some of the most popular artists to date. Whether you want to check our virtual museum or attend our gallery in Santa Fe, we’ll be more than happy to walk you through these beautiful pieces of art.

The art pieces mentioned above are just some of the things you can find here. Overall, you’ll find dozens and hundreds of years of history in the art shown at our gallery, and we hope you can learn and appreciate everything that went through the design of these art pieces.

Keep in mind you don’t have to be an archeologist or an art enthusiast to enjoy art from Native Americans. Modern-day Native American art is certainly interesting to evaluate and study, and several people have even studied the techniques of their ancestors so that they could portray their art much better.

Take a Look at What Maya Gallery Has to Offer

Honeymoon-at-Crow-FairOne of the most interesting things about these art sculptures is that most of them focus on animals and humans rather than landscapes. Overall, these art pieces represented Native American dresses, weapons, rituals, relationships, and even spiritual guidance.

On the other hand, we not only work with sculptures and bronze statues. We also work with art pieces from popular painting artists, including Kathleen Carrillo, Charley Shipley, Angie Spady, and Jim Wodark.

As for our sculpture artists, we source from Marianne Caroselli, Chris Payne, Scy Caroselli, Eric Hartman, Todd Paxton, and more. We also work with Angie Spady and her jewelry art, which is quite interesting to check out.

Some of these artists, such as Chris Payne, are actively working on new sculptures depicting Native American traditions. His newest work, “Dancing of the Ancient,” aims to show a vital part of Native American culture, which is dancing.

In essence, there’s a lot of Native American history to discover, and sculptures are one of the most interesting ways for artists to display that history. Art is a vital part of our lives, and we’re excited to show how vital it is through our art gallery. If you’re interested in our offering, make sure to go to our website and contact us, or visit our gallery in Santa Fe.

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