Home Animal House Grin and Bear It

On a recent trip to Tucson, Annie stopped in Grey Dog Trading Company, an amazing store stockpiled with the finest in Native American arts and crafts from all over the United States and Canada. Annie, animal lover that she is, spied these Zuni bear fetishes, and immediately knew she wouldn’t be boarding the plane home without them.

As it turns out, Grey Dog co-owner Kent McManis wrote the book—literally—on Zuni fetishes and carvings. As he explains in the book, “A fetish is an object believed to have a power greater than the object itself would naturally possess.” The tradition of carving fetishes is common among Native American tribes, but the Zunis, of the Southwest, are the undisputed masters.

So what about Annie’s beloved bears? Kent writes, “The bear is one of the most important fetish animals throughout the Southwest. . . . While all bears have great curative abilities, white bears provide especially powerful healing.” They also have all-important power to liven up a mantel. Adorable, no?


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