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Fetishes

A FETISH traditionally is a Native American carving believed to have special power. Each Fetish is carved with the intent of the animal spirit to act as a guide to it's caretaker.

Many Native American tribes create and use fetishes of which the most renowned fetish carvers are the Zuni tribe, who call themselves Asiwi (Ah-she-wee). A Zuni fetish, or wemawe (wuh-may-wuh), is a carved object of an animal or revered spirit. Zuni fetishes have been used for many purposes: to enable hunters to catch game, to make game more plentiful, and also for curing ceremonies. Zuni believe that fetishes may protect individuals as well as the community; Animals, with their fangs, claws, sharp eyesight, and other keen senses, are closer to the elemental forces and can act as messengers to the gods. As a strategy for survival, the Zunis invoked the spirits of animals, through the finding or creating of fetishes which most often resembled powerful animals and Beings. The Zunis believed fetishes are alive and were always careful to ceremonially feed them and to treat them with respect.