The American Black Duck Fetish

The American Black Duck is similar in size to a mallard with a light head, yellow bill and lighter underwings that can be seen in contrast to the dark brown body. They are found in the east central US and the Great Lakes area.

American Black Duck Fetish by Navajo artist David Yazzie

Recommendation for Protection against Evil and Bad Luck


My friend is interested in a native indian amulet or “charm” for protection against evil and bad luck.  Would these medicine bags be appropriate?  I specificially like the Crazy Horse bag with the gemstones, however, I am not sure about their spiritual powers or purpose.  Would you please be able to direct me to the proper item that I could buy for my friend.

Thank you. IJ

Hi IJ,

Every person has their own belief system when it comes to good spirits and good luck so it is not so important what is used, but what one believes. Picking up a special stone can do more to change one’s luck than purchasing a lottery ticket !!

With that said, you know your friend and his or her habits and propensity to ceremony and ritual. Here are some ideas.

The Crazy Horse bag is very nice.

Crazy Horse Bag by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

I’d highly recommend any of the bags made by Apache artist, Cynthia Whitehawk as she makes each of her items in ceremony and with great attention to detail. They are filled with a wonderful spirit already !  She acknowledges that each of us tends to be drawn to certain animals, stones or other healing spirits, so she makes many bags and shares her thoughts on the protective and healing powers of each totem.  That is indicated at the bottom of each page describing the bag.

Eagle Spirit Bag by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

Carved Zuni fetishes can also be very powerful talismans – many are suitable to carry in a pocket or purse making them handy to hold or rub.

Rainbow Calsilica Medicine Bear by Zuni artist Kenny Chavez

Some of these fetishes are available as pendants so they can be worn on a chain or leather choker.

Sacred White Buffalo Pendant by Zuni artist Cheryl Beyuka

A cross might be the perfect answer.

Sterling Silver and Turquoise Cross by Navajo artist Derrick Gordon

For those who are looking for good luck, such as would come from a finding a four leaf clover, there are Authentic Lucky Horseshoes.

Authentic Lucky Horseshoe

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to find the perfect item for your friend.

Mole Tracks Under the Snow

I hiked across the pastures yesterday taking advantage of the warm weather.

The snow has melted and revealed mole tracks on the top of the ground where the moles were busy tunneling under the snow.

Mole Tracks Revealed After the Snow Melts

Jet Mole Fetish Carving by David Yazzie, Navajo

The mole is one of the guardians of the six directions.  The mole guards the lower regions of the earth.

Mole – The Protector of the Underworld and Crops, Awareness, Introspection

Jet Zuni Fetish Bear Pendants by Everett Pino

Someone asked me to get them some of these Zuni Fetish Bears by Everett Pino made from jet. Well. he made them but now I can’t find the email asking for them, so I hope that via this blog, Facebook or Twitter, you will see that I got them !! Just click the photo below and it will take you to the page with the jet bear choices.


Sterling Silver Animal Fetish Necklace – Information Please?

Hi Paula

I have a sterling animal fetish necklace that I would like to know more about it’s origin’s. There are 6 animals about 1/2 long each, hooked together, with a different colored stone in each one. On the back of each animal is a word associated with that animal spirit. A bear – healing,phoenix happiness, a fish – change, a dove – vision, a turtle – wisdom and a fox – swift. It is signed (initials can’t read) and marked ster. Any help? Jacquie

FetishNeckFull resized front

Hi Jacquie,

You have a very nice necklace here ! I’ve not seen one like it. Although it does have some similar characteristics to Native American jewelry, I doubt that it is. I’ve not seen a authentic Native American necklace with words on the back like this one. Because each piece is stamped Sterling, I’d guess it was from the late 70’s or early 80’s or later.  Let me know if you can ever read the hallmark initials – that would be helpful.

Perhaps someone else reading this blog will have seen a necklace like this and will post some more information.

You said you’d “love to know what it is worth”.  I don’t do appraisals from photos and with something like this, I’d say its worth whatever someone is willing to pay ! Because the fetishes are 1/2″ long, I am assuming this is not a very heavy necklace. But it is cute, unique and colorful !  Enjoy !


Are these Bird Fetish Necklaces Authentic Native American made?

Paula, we have bird fetish necklace and earrings to go with it (3 sets). The birds appear to be hand craved and detailed. We have done some research but are unable to find another necklace like this one instead of colored beads between the birds there are silver beads. Just trying to find out who made it and if it is authentic. It is in excellent condition as it has been stored away for years. Thank for your help. Tom

Is this authentic Native American made?

Close-up of bird necklace - Native American made??

Hi Tom,

I’ve never seen a Zuni or Navajo fetish necklace made with silver beads between the birds. And I’ve not seen birds carved in this particular shape before. With both of those things being said, it is possible that these could be an exception. However, from what I can see, I’m thinking they are not Native American made. I’m posting the photos so that if another reader has seen something like this from perhaps Mexico or the Philippines, you might get some feedback on these necklaces.

As your research has shown you, typically there is heishi made of penn shell, olive shell, turquoise, coral or other shell or stone material in between the carved animals. And in the case of birds, the two most common and traditional bird shapes are a longer general “song bird” or a hummingbird, some examples below.

Coral birds with coral heishi by Navajo Hector Goodluck

Turquoise Birds with turquoise heishi by Hector Goodluck, Navajo

Mixed Stone Hummingbirds with Penn Shell and Turqoise Heishi by Corrine Ramirez, Navajo

Orange Tip Olive Shell Birds with Olive Shell heishi and turquoise nuggets by James and Doris Coriz, Santo Domingo


How are antlers obtained for Native American arts and crafts?

Hi Paula,

I recently stumbled upon your lovely website and am quite impressed with the vast selection of unique Native American products. I’m very interested in purchasing one of the Zuni fetishes and noticed that the one I’m interested in (Pinky) is carved from antler. Would it be possible to tell me how these antlers are obtained? Any information you could provide me with would be much appreciated. 

Thank you for your time! 

Warm Regards,


Rabbit Fetish carved from antler by Willard Laate, Zuni

Hi Ash,

Deer and elk shed their antlers in the late winter and regrow them early the following summer. We’ve found them when walking around on our land. It seems there are certain areas where the males go back to shed each year. Sometimes the antlers are found hanging in a bush or low tree showing the buck or bull used the tree to rub the antler off.

It is a completely natural annual process that does no harm to the animal. It is nature’s way. Antlers not only make wonderful carving materials but slices make good buttons for medicine bags and more.

Many artists have stockpiles of antlers they or friends have found. Most Native American artists I have talked with obtain their antlers this way.

Oh, wonderful! Thank you for the informative and speedy response. Much appreciated.