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Navajo Kachina Dolls Meanings

The History, Popularity and Uses of Native American Kachina Dolls

The Navajo Indians are natives of the Southwestern United States. This culture has used an interesting religious symbol for hundreds of years, the Kachina doll. Kachina dolls were traditionally fashioned from the base of the cottonwood tree. Navajo Kachina dolls meanings are all different and particular to a specific statue.

Today, each Navajo Kachina doll is individually handcrafted. The tiny statues are carved from wood, painted in bright hues and decorated with traditional accessories.


Kachina dolls are visual symbols that represent the spirits of animals, ancestors, plants, and trees. To the first Navajos, Kachinas were invisible beings who existed only in the spirit world. The dolls were not worshipped as deities, but they were considered to be powerful spirits that could help humans as they walked through their daily lives.


Kachina dolls perform many roles of cultural significance. The dolls were great teaching vehicles for the children. A story or legend about each doll was passed down from generation to generation. The stories illustrated right and wrong, and good vs. evil, much as modern parents use fables and fairy tales to teach their offspring cultural mores and values.


Just as each piece is unique in appearance, Navajo Kachina dolls meanings are all different. Here are a few examples:

  • Bear: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings -symbolizes a magical ability to help sick people get well
  • Crow Mother: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings -protects children as they play
  • Badger: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings -makes the sick well again, makes healing herbs more potent with prayer.
  • Ogre: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings -the White Ogre symbolizes good; Black Ogres threaten little children who disobey their elders.
  • Rainbow: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings -the Rainbow doll is a symbol of harmony among different tribes.
  • Ram: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings -possesses influence over the weather.
  • White Cloud: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings -symbolizes the clouds in the sky and draws moisture for growing things
  • Crow Mother: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings -watches over the children as they play.
  • Eagle: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings -symbolizes strength and power.
  • Hoop Dancer: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings – rings represent the circle of life..
  • Buffalo: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings-most powerful of all Kachina dolls, a protector of the spirit.
  • Butterfly: Navajo Kachina dolls meanings-symbolizes the butterfly that attaches itself to flowers in bloom.

The turn of the century heralded the emergence of many gifted artists who made the development of intricate Kachina dolls their life’s work. As a result, the dolls have evolved to become a unique art form. Navajo Kachina dolls meanings are unique to each statue.

Navajo Kachina dolls meanings have become very popular as collector’s items, so they are produced mainly to provide an income for those gifted in the age-old art of carving.

Navajo Kachina dolls meanings are different for each statue. The statues are still made by professional craftsmen who give their whole lives to creating the spirit dolls. Authentic Kachina dolls are frequently priced at thousands of dollars.

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