A subtrope of Ethnic Magician
. Native Americans (or a race meant to be an expy
of them) who possess powers because of their ethnicity. Often this involves stating that their power comes from innate spirituality or closeness to nature
that "civilized" races don't have. Usually involves influence over nature, animals, or other spirit powers. Quite often, the Native in question will be dressed very "traditionally"
even in modern settings. May sometimes speak-um Tonto Talk
with Badass Native
is far from uncommon.
If the Native American magic comes from beyond the grave, see Indian Burial Ground
This is often a form of Positive Discrimination
. Works often use this trope to promote a "positive" image of Native Americans rather than accurately portraying their culture or developing them as characters. Like Noble Savage
, this trope can have obvious Unfortunate Implications
. It furthers stereotypes of Native Americans...and gives them a mysterious "otherness" quality that, while rendering them Badass
in their own right, prevents them from ever assimilating into the modern society of the other races.
If this character is a superhero, see Captain Ethnic
. See also Magical Negro
and Magical Asian
. Contrast with Hollywood Natives
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Anime and Manga
- The Shaman Fight in Shaman King is run by a Native American tribe.
- Though Geronimo Jr. aka 005 of Cyborg 009 plays more the Gentle Giant/Mighty Glacier role since he's Made of Iron, he also has some degree of empathy related to nature that does not come from Black Ghost's Cyborg Project.
- Laughing Bull doles out sage wisdom on Cowboy Bebop, making him a… Magical Native Martian? Laughing Bull qualifies on the grounds that his people are from Earth originally. Actually, just about any indigenous people sufficiently Closer to Earth can fit this trope.
- In Midori no Hibi the Native American medicine man is the only one of the spiritual experts called in for Midori's "illness" to actually have some idea of what's going on.
- Devo the Cursed In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, who is a native American assassin that kills people via "cursing" them (He uses his Stand, Ebony Devil, who looks like the deranged love child of Chucky and the Suni Fetish Doll, (which is triggered by wounds directed to Devo) to kill the victims.
- Soundman from Steel Ball Run who can manipulate sound and turn sounds of actions real with his ability In a Silent Way also qualifies. It's unknown if he was born with his ability though or if he gained it from a Devil's Palm location. It's mentioned he has always been rather different from the other members of his tribe though, implying it's former.
- Sara Nome in Macross Zero. She gets fought over because of her magical power (Which is actually just that Protoculture technology recognizes and reacts to her because of her blood type). The Mayans have a rich belief system, but many of their traditions have been forgotten with westernization (something that had already been started many years prior to the events of the OVA, as opposed to happening immediately). Sara comes to hate the rest of the world when the Unification War between the UN and anti-UN decide to make their village the latest battlefield.
- Walken, from Baoh: The Visitor. A giant Native American, last of his tribe, and the most powerful psychic of the world, with Tetsuo-like telekinetic attacks.
- The Mimiba people in The Five Star Stories appear to have a culture that is a cross between Native Americans & stereotypical portrayals of Ninja. While not overly mystical, they are physically superior to most humans aside from those with inherited genetic enhancements (Headdliners). Their empathy with nature simply comes from a combination of Super Senses & learning from an early age to pay attention to their environment.
- In episode three of Sentou Yousei Yukikaze, Rei meets one of the engineers that made the titular aircraft. He's unmistakably Native American, but he's nothing really special; even his name is a nondescript Tom John. He tells about how he is a bit of coward even when he was raised in a Proud Warrior Race Guy tribe, and actually having a plutonium-powered artificial heart (which he lamentably admits giving him problems since he wouldn't be accepted in several countries due to his heart). By the end of the episode, he's revealed to be a JAM copy, and his original died, yet he possesses so much personality of the original that he decides to perform a Heroic Sacrifice rather than letting him be a threat to other humans. A noteworthy thing is, aside from Rei's Commanding Officer and his own aircraft, Tom John is the only other person Rei has shown emotions to.
- The novel and manga further flesh out his backstory: he studied aerospace engineering but couldn't find a job related to his field on The Rez. The manga also contradicts his anime backstory by making him out to be a rather violent individual who got into fights a lot which bit him hard when he got stabbed in the chest, necessitating his artificial heart. Another difference from the anime is that he's not a JAM copy, but he is murdered by the JAM on the Banshee-IV aircraft because they can perceive the mechanical parts of his body while being unaware of his flesh.
- Most of the Native American characters in the Marvel Universe have ended up either using magic or going on a Vision Quest at some point. A particularly egregious example lies in Forge, a dyed-in-the-wool hard-core technology builder, who was studying to be a shaman before his mutant powers manifested (and later ended up using magic against a mystically-charged adversary).
- Danielle Moonstar of the New Mutants provides a mild subversion. Despite the involvement of a demonic bear in her Parental Abandonment Backstory, her own illusion/nightmare summoning abilities were run of the mill Psychic Powers and she only acquired mystical abilities well after she came to Xavier's... when she was kidnapped to Asgard and became a Valkyrie more-or-less by accident (All because she wanted to help out a winged horse trapped in a bog. Blessed with suck indeed). Her grandfather was actually a shaman who taught her what he could about controlling her illusion powers but, knowing their origin were different from his own abilities, he talked her into going to Xavier's School.
- Amusingly, Thomas Fireheart is a literal example, being a shape-shifting were-puma and protector of his tribe. However, he's also got a mercenary streak and is firmly on the darker side of morally gray. He later turns out to be the only person in the whole multiverse who can hurt the Beyonder (besides God), but then a Retcon fixed all that. Some other members of Fireheart's tribe qualify too (in fact, that's probably the whole idea), including his unnamed uncle, the tribe's shaman, and his kinsman, the mutant Charles Little Sky, aka Portal.
- Australian Aborigines in the Marvel U are similarly portrayed. A 'magical bullroarer' and the ability to teleport through Dream Time are the powers of two completely separate characters — Talisman (no relation to Elizabeth Twoyoungmen, above) and Gateway.
- Gateway was both far more mystical than Talisman (he never spoke) AND subverted the trope by being an airplane pilot in the alternate reality of The Age of Apocalypse.
- Captain America becomes one of these in a What If?, and Marvel 1602.
- She-Hulk's Native American boyfriend Wyatt Wyngfoot turns out to have a rich magical heritage. Initially just Human Torch's Muggle friend, he had no magic powers. He claimed to be good with dogs but couldn't handle Lockjaw. On the other hand, this trope was averted by Scalphunter and Harpoon, two members of the Marauders, opponents of the X-Men. Neither one did anything magical, one being a technology-builder and the other being able to charge things with explosive energy, and like the rest of the Marauders were evil.
- In The DCU, Silver Deer, an erstwhile Firestorm villain from the Cherokee Nation, used magical shapeshifting abilities. She even "enlisted" a former Firestorm adversary, Black Bison, to help her scheme. She also had luck powers. As Christopher Bird said, "Her powers are turning into spirit animals and super-gambling skills. If her weakness turned out to be liquor, how wrong would that be?" The Black Bison is himself a Native American with an impressive command of magic.
- In the 60s, DC had a short lived comic about Prez Rickard, the First Teen President. Prez's longstanding friend, companion and FBI head was Eagle Free, a Native American who continually dressed the part and was surrounded by a group of animals.
- Parodied in Jack of Fables with Raven, Jack's guide/sidekick. Raven isn't particularly good at his job (he at first mistakenly attached himself to Jack's double John), loathes Jack, and only helps him reluctantly, because his spirit guide threatens to peck out his eyes if he doesn't.
- The elves in ElfQuest are arguably modeled on native Americans and are literally magical. The elves are a varied bunch, and none of them are strict Fantasy Counterpart Cultures. The Sun Folk seem vaguely Native American (maybe Central American), and the Go Backs clearly show some Eskimo/Inuit traits. The Wolfriders seem a little more like European myths of forest-dwelling elves, and they're certainly drawn to look European. The Gliders are kind of unclassifiable.
- Played with in the initial Lucifer miniseries, with the teenaged Rachel Begai. Half-Dineh (Navajo) and the granddaughter of a shaman, she's far from serene or wise. Indeed, she comes across as whiny, hostile and reckless, only accompanying Lucifer on a quest through the Dineh "four worlds" in hopes of getting back her brother whom she'd inadvertently killed. Nevertheless, thanks to her shamanic heritage she does possess a considerable degree of intuition which comes in handy on the quest ( for Lucifer, not for her). Later in the series proper, Rachel, now in her twenties, reappears as a straighter example of the trope, having become her grandfather's apprentice and also matured a good deal.
- The Freedom Fighters have Black Condor in the John Trujillo version. He's a Native American man who received his powers from an ancient spider-goddess.
- "Crazy Wolf" from the Chick Tract of the same name, although (no surprise here) he's portrayed negatively.
- Manitou Raven and his wife Dawn, the Justice League of America's magical advisors when Joe Kelly was writing the book. As if the wholehearted embracing of every single stereotype wasn't enough, Kelly gave them Apache Chief's magic word.
- Apache leader Wasserstein of Give Me Liberty.
- Played with in Scalped. Nominally a crime-n-family drama, it also delves into the realm of dreams and spirit animals, and it's not certain if it's just metaphors. Certain characters (Grandma Poor Bear, for instance) have an inherent connection to this vaguely magical background.
- In Shaman's Tears, Joshua Brand is a half-Sioux who is selected by the spirit of the Earth to become her champion and granted magical nature powers.
- Flying Fox, the Post-Crisis Earth-2 Batman replacement in the All-Star Squadron sequel series The Young All-Stars, is this. He received his powers from his grandfather, the tribal shaman, and was given a magical fur cloak that enabled him to fly.
- In Discworld fic Small Medium, Large Headache, Mrs Cake's spirit guide One-Man-Bucket makes an appearance. Everybody knows Red Indian Spirit Guides are wise and compassionate spirit entities who work with mediums out of compassion for the human race, and pass on the pure wisdom of their earthly lives, right? Well, a new medium has arisen in Ankh-Morpork. And her Guides are the other sort of Indian. Ones to whom the word not-an-Apache is cognate with target, victim or To be tied upside-down over a roaring fire until their skulls explode. Mayhem ensues.
- In a series of Emergency! fics by abfirechick, John Gage has a sort of psychic link with his girlfriend that seems based on this. When she's kidnapped in one fic, he can feel her pain and there are a couple scenes with what look to be spirit guide animals as well.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- A humorous example is the "weird naked Indian" from Wayne's World 2. That was a parody of a more straightforward example: the almost naked Native guy from Jim Morrison's visions in Oliver Stone's The Doors.
- Mystic Native American high-steel workers in Wolfen. (The mysticism aspect is not really present in the novel.)
- Subversion: Black Robe gives an extremely educated and unromanticized view of the differences between Algonquin, Huron, and Christian religious beliefs. The natives neither come off as Closer to Earth or a Cargo Cult, although Mestigoit the Algonquin shaman is unabashedly hilarious.
- Subverted in the plot of the Mystery Science Theater 3000-mocked film Puma Man. An Aztec gives the hero a magic belt that gives him all the powers of a puma, including flying. Subverted because the actual Native American is a Badass Normal and the "magic" is alien super-technology. Despite having the belt and super-powers, the hero stays only one notch above utter coward, while his Aztec sidekick does all the work of actually defeating the bad guy.
- Randolph Johnson, the aquarium minder in Free Willy. For that matter, much of August Schellenberg's career.
- Old Indian in Natural Born Killers.
- Taylor in Poltergeist II: The Other Side.
- The two main characters of Dead Man play around with this a bit. The first, Nobody, is a Native American but there really isn't that much mystical about him other than the fact that he's an Indian who hasn't been westernized (despite spending time in England). William Blake on the other hand is a fairly normal white guy until he's shot. He becomes more and more mystical seeming as the bullet works its way closer and closer to his heart, or at least Nobody's view of him does. The trope is played fairly straight in that Nobody believes his companion to be THAT William Blake, somehow returned to the world in an almost messianic capacity (in the original meaning, at least): "you were a poet and a painter, and now you are a killer of white men!" Then he makes it his personal mission to help Blake in his journey to the spirit world—"the place where William Blake is from."
- Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man. "Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't."
- When the revenge western Seraphim Falls veers into Magic Realism in the third act, a Native American man played by Wes Studi appears to each of the two main characters by a water hole in the middle of a barren desert. He trades Pierce Brosnan's character some water for the horse that Brosnan had stolen from Liam Neeson, then gives Neeson the horse for free. When Neeson gives him money anyway, he discards the coins. His name is listed as Charon in the credits, and the film suggests that he's a demon who is engineering a final confrontation between the two nemeses.
- Done in a deleted scene in Swing Vote, which may be why it was deleted... but it actually was a fairly touching scene that added another dimension to a character mostly portrayed in a negative light, as the character meets his spirit animal (an elephant, of course) and has an epiphany.
- Averted with Kicking Wing from Joe Dirt. Joe assumes he's magical because he's Native American, but Wing says he's just some guy selling fireworks.
- Parodied in all three of the Crocodile Dundee films, which depicted (relatively) accurate Australian aborigines who have assimilated into "white" culture without losing their own cultural trappings. In the first film Sue asks to take a picture of Mick's aboriginal friend and he says she cannot, which she believes stems from his belief that the camera will steal his soul, but he just points out that she forgot to take the lenscap off. He then checks his rolex watch and hurries on his way, albeit with a few stumbles in the dark as he grumbles how he hates being in the bush. The same character shows up again in the first sequel and intentionally plays the image up in order to intimidate the henchmen of two Columbian thugs. In the third film, when Mick is picking up his son from school he runs into an aboriginal man in full traditional garb.
Aborigine: Got outta that tree alright, eh?
Mick Dundee: Now how could you possibly know about that already?
Aborigine: My people have ways of talking that no white man can understand!
Aborigine (pulls out cellphone): Yeah?
- "Grandpa" Sam Reaches fits the trope, but the movie earns points by presenting a brutally unromanticized view of reservation life at the time, with government corruption, violence, alcoholism, and crushing poverty. Also, everything Grandpa does is what Lakota people would reasonably expect a wikchasa wakan (holy man) to do; he leads a sweat lodge and later an outdoor prayer session, prays and leaves food out for animals, telepathically picks up on some facts about Ray's father, and offers to share a sacred pipe with him.
- Jimmy Looks Twice has a reputation for shape shifting, but the film keeps it sufficiently ambiguous.
- The film also dodges Political Correctness Gone Mad by having the main character, a federal agent assigned to investigate a murder at Pine Ridge Reservation (and the hero of the piece, mind you) be contemptuous of and sarcastic toward Sioux traditions at first - even though he is of part-Sioux ancestry himself, which is something he usually doesn't discuss. By the end of the film, said federal agent also fits the trope, to an extent.
- And spoofed by tribal police officer and Deadpan Snarker Walter Crow Horse, who claims that he heard a message on the wind that the protagonist was exceeding the speed limit. Later when the federal agent has a vision, Horse gets rather annoyed because he has never had one!
- Johnny Sixtoes in Desert Heat. Divines information from lighting fires and talking to the smoke, as well as looking at the moon and listening to the wind.
- Walkabout had a young aboriginal boy who fit this perfectly, to the point of a senseless suicide.
- Predator. Billy senses the presence of the alien long before anyone else does. Justified as he is after all their scout, but Billy's reactions are very different from what you'd expect if an ordinary human enemy was stalking them, indicating that he somehow understands the otherworldly nature of their foe.
- Averted in Mans Favorite Sport, John Screaming Eagle talks in stereotypical Indian talk, hinting that he knows things only Indians know, until he's found out, then he becomes a normal American man in speech and 'knowledge', and willingness to help out his fellow man - for a price.
- Averted in Dances with Wolves. The tribe's medicine man Kicking Bird keeps running into things he hasn't foreseen, and so goes off in a sulk about it.
- Tonto has elements of this in The Lone Ranger, especially in his manner of dress and during his plot exposition. Subverted later on when John meets the rest of the Comanche, who inform him that Tonto is insane and the Native American myths that he's been reciting throughout the film are just that, simply myths. (Even so, there's something...off about Tonto. He seems to know when "nature is out of balance" just from observing animal behavior. Then there's that spooky makeup on his face that makes him look like a paleolithic street mime, and that never comes off (even when he's underwater!) until he decides to take it off.
- Chief St. Cloud from Ernest Goes to Camp.
- Subverted in Dance Me Outside. When Silas offers a smoke to a crow, it bites him and flies away, despite being his totem animal.
- The Missing has good and bad types of this. One of the heroes, Samuel, who is white, was accepted into Chircahua culture and became this in a sort as well.
- The trope is played with here.
- It was already late fall and the Indians on a remote reservation in South Dakota asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a chief in a modern society he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared. Being a practical leader, several days later he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?" "It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold," the meteorologist at the weather service responded. So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared. A week later he called the National Weather Service again. "Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?" "Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter." The chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find. Two weeks later the chief called the National Weather Service again. "Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?" "Absolutely," the man replied. "It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we've ever seen." "How can you be so sure?" the chief asked. The weatherman replied, "The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy!"
- Oberon of Alterien could be considered this, though it is somewhat downplayed. As an Alterien, Oberon's abilities are actually based in science beyond anything human scientists have discovered or could understand. To most humans, many of his abilities might seem like magic.
- In Shaman of the Undead there's Okhamhaka, spirit of Indian boy, with classical Hollywood Indian outfit, magical dreamcatches and powerful magic. Luckily, his snarky nature averts "nature wisdom and sayings" part, but how did he get from America to Poland is left unexplained.
- Twilight character Jacob Black and his fellow Quileute werewolves are all an example of this. They're apparently not true werewolves, but rather "spirit wolves," which comes from a traditional Quileute origin story about shape-shifters. Unlike vampirism, spirit-wolf-ism is hereditary.
- The Dalrei in The Fionavar Tapestry.
- Subverted somewhat, in the works of Tomson Highway, including The Rez Sisters—who play bingo.
- In the Whateley Universe, there are two literal examples: Heyoka, a Lakota 'two-spirit' who can communicate with spirits and astral project, but can't keep from physically shifting into the form of spirits that Heyoka merges with; and Charlie Lodgeman, once the superhero Totem but now 'merely' a supervisor at the Super Hero School Whateley Academy, who actually possesses the spirit of The First Shaman. As a subversion, there's also a superpowered mutant native American at the school who isn't magical: Skinwalker has the power to possess people and take over their bodies, but isn't a shaman.
- Heyoka is a partial deconstruction, as she was sorta dragged into this, doesn't get ALONG with said spirits and astral projections, and wasn't especially into the specifics of her religion. (Her dad was, but he got struck by lightning.) Her powers are also a pain in the ARSE. (Her gender and personality can change pretty drastically thanks to the spirits...)
- Ever since Little Big Man, the winkte (what Heyoka actually is with her changing from male to female) and heyoka (someone who does everything backward) are different Character Classes. Whatever the case, being either is considered a mixed blessing.
- Skinwalkers, or yee naaldlooshi, are sort of the villains of Navajo tradition. It's a real Body Horror to be the victim of one.
- Whiskey Jack in Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Though he actually is magical, being a culture hero from Native American mythology, most of the time he acts like an average Joe. Subverted with Samantha Black Crow. She's part Cherokee, and one of the few characters who is not magical in any way.
- Two Bears/O'olish Amaneh from The Word and the Void novels by Terry Brooks. While he is wise and magical, he isn't above violence and in fact is a dangerous killer for the Lawful Good force in the universe, as well as being a shell shocked Vietnam vet. He's also heavily implied to be some manner of supernatural being in the form of one- note that as of his last appearance he's been alive for centuries, always appears exactly where and when he's needed, and actually scares Findo Gask, who is The Stoic in addition to being arguably the most powerful demon on earth.
- Simon's friend in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams, is one of the troll-like Qanuc, rides a wolf, fights with a blowgun, and solves a lot of problems with his traditional knowledge.
- Xabbu, Renie's Love Interest in Otherland, is an African Bushman who was raised partly in the Bush and partly in a modern setting. His natural sensitivity to his surroundings comes in very useful once they become trapped in the Grail Network - this would be ironic considering it's really a vastly sophisticated simulation, but it turns out that the operating system knows about this trope and is deliberately feeding him extra information. The first Otherland book also starts out with a foreword by Williams that basically says "Look, I know there are like fifty billion Bushmen tribes, and it turns out they all have their own completely unique and mutually exclusive religions, but I'm kinda gonna pretend there's only one for the sake of the story, okay?" Although, even within the story, it's only insinuated that !Xabbu subscribes to a general "Bushman" religion; he's the only one we ever meet, so we don't really know the contrast between the tribes.
- Subverted in Orson Scott Card's The Tales of Alvin Maker Alternate History series, where the Native Americans genuinely are magical, but so is everyone else in 19th century America. While the White Americans are hiring dowsers and crafting amulets, and the Black slaves are building Voodoo fetishes by candlelight, the Natives prance through the trees in tune with Nature's song, using blood magic to control animals and bend light around themselves. As a whole, most tribes responded to White aggression by migrating West of the Mizzippy and closing down the river, while the Aztecs still dominate Mexico, using human sacrifice to fuel their magic.
- The Dresden Files has Joseph Listens-to-Wind, also known as Injun Joenote , genuine Illinois medicine man, senior member of the White Council and, by extension, one of the most powerful wizards in the world. He's described as having a great sense of empathy for animals and even has a pet raccoon. He's also well over two (possibly three) centuries old, so he's one who remembers the better part of their history with the White Man. All in all, Listens-To-Wind is probably the least strained and most Bad Ass version of this trope. Ever.
- Mercedes Lackey uses this trope with the Hawkbrothers who are almost magical, though there may be some subversion of it in their cousins, the Shin'a'in, who shun the use of magic completely (except when their ultra-magical goddess gets involved). There are actually good reasons for this, revealed over the course of the series. Shin'a'in who are found to be magically inclined are either trained as Shamans, or sent to the Hawkbrothers. But then again, magic use is represented heavily across all cultures in the Valdemar series; Lackey uses the stereotype but it's far from out of place in-universe.
- Joanne Walker from The Walker Papers.
- Subverted in that Tadewi Omaha, the scythe-wielding main character of Grimmer Reaper, is an actual Native American from the Age of Exploration, but seems not in tuned with nature (or people, for that matter) at all, nor is she magical or spiritual. While she does have powers (wind manipulation, actually) , so does (almost) everyone else in the series. And don't take her name the wrong way. She was given the last name "Omaha" after her tribe by the officials who hired her. The same happened with the cavewoman character Leia Sapien. But she does make reference to the culture on occasion, and dresses in the traditional garb of the Omaha tribe when not on duty, complete with the open buckskin jacket with no shirt underneath. Though it's worth noting that Tadewi actually comes from an off-shoot of the Omaha tribe, which is probably just the author trying to cover for any accidental or intentional mistakes he/she makes in Omaha tribe lore.
- Charles deLint has an entire collection of novels and short stories of urban fantasy based on the idea that the various Native American spirits (Coyote, Raven, etc) are still around and active in people's lives, particularly in one town. Further, once you encounter one of these individuals, their magic is "contagious," and you will almost certainly encounter more and become more aware of the magic surrounding everyday life than you probably wanted to be.
- Of course, a house in Ottawa is a nexus of planes in deLint's stories. And many of the magical creatures are Celtic, such as the evil faeries.
- The People of the ___ novels by Kathleen and Michael Gear, though they seem to be a case of Shown Their Work.
- In Avalon: Web of Magic, Adriane's Native American grandmother dispenses mystical advice and fortune cookie sayings almost every time she appears, while a Native American rock monument is a literal gateway into the magical spirit world.
- In the Jane Yellowrock Series, Jane the main character is of Cherokee decent and has the power of shape-changing passed down in her line.
- Ruth, who is Hopi, in Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. After helping Delia deal with the aftermath of her father kidnapping her as a child from her alcoholic mother with wisdom and sayings, she kills herself at an ancient mural rather than go through chemo.
- In Mike Resnick's The Buntline Special Native American magic has been powerful enough to keep the United States of America East of the Mississippi as of 1881.
- Exploited by Sherman Alexie's character Victor Joseph, who uses his "stoic look" to meet women.
- Mercy Thompson is herself an example as a half-Native coyote shapeshifter, although she subverts it in part by having a job (auto mechanic) that's about as far from Closer to Earth as you can get. The series itself has featured this trope in the backstory of Bran's son, Charles, whose mother was a Native shaman's daughter and practiced real magic, some of which Charles has inherited along with his father's lycanthropy.
- In The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong, Maya is adopted, but is said to be part Native American, and she also is discovering mysterious abilities coming from her paw print birthmark.
- A few humans...or flat-faces...in Seeker Bears are this. They could even turn into different animals...but only one form unlike Ujurak. But it's thanks to them that Ujurak knows that the earth is suffering.
- African tribals rather than Native Americans, but in the Artemis Fowl series, the fairies drop off mind-wiped humans in the African savanna to be adopted by nearby tribes. When a couple hunters find him, one pulls out his cell phone to call his chief. "Yeah, the earth spirits left us another one."
- The Weird West novella Sheeps Clothing has Wolf Cowrie, a half-Indian gunslinger who is also half-skinwalker on his Native side and uses shamanistic techniques to fight vampires. He can also turn into a wolf, to varying degrees.
- The Deoraghan of The Children Of Man fall under this trope. They are a distinct ethnic and political unit, divided into multiple nomadic Tribes. They are also much more powerfully magical than any other race (nearly every Deoraghan can use magic, while only about one in ten non-Deoraghan can) and are the only people left who worship Lior, this setting's incarnation of the Christian God.
- The Aboriginals portrayed in Fall From Grace are a strict and deliberate aversion, and realistically if depressingly portrayed.
- Subverted in the Stephen King horror novel Firestarter. Professional Killer Rainbird's death-oriented mysticism makes him terrifying and dangerous rather than understanding and helpful.
Live Action TV
- SCP Foundation, SCP-992 ("Gaia's Emissary"). SCP-992 is a male Australian Aborigine who claims to be 57-71 years old but hasn't aged in the 65 years that he's been contained by the Foundation. He appears to be able to control the weather and talk to plants.
- Subverted the Great Cheyenee, who at first looks and sound the part but is really a "Monstress From Hell" (this can probably be attributed to her predecessor, the Great Malachi)
- In December 2006, as part of the very last gimmick he performed before mysteriously disappearing from WWE, Tatanka, enraged at having supposedly been repeatedly cheated out of in-ring victories by biased officials, tapped deep into his Native American psyche and gained access to a "vengeful warrior" persona that induced him to paint his face white and draw a black horizontal band over his eyes, and to talk in a dark, angry, mystical manner. He had only two matches in WWE after that, but the first match was a draw and the second resulted in a victory for him (his first victory in many weeks), suggesting that he somehow drew on supernatural power to win his final match.
- In Deadlands, Native Americans and those who have been welcomed into their tribes are the only characters eligible for Guardian Spirits or leaning rituals and favors from the spirits, at least in the American West. (Oddly enough, Native Americans who had been raised by white people could not learn these things unless they became a tribe's blood brother later in life, which makes it sound like your "Magical Native American"-ness can be revoked; as it's a function of religion, not birthright, this is probably intentional.)
- The metaplot for Shadowrun has Native Americans as the first to use magic properly after the Awakening, with the reasoning being that they never really left it behind in the first place.
- In the Old World of Darkness game Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Garou follow a tribal structure, with two of the tribes, the Uktena (exploratory mystics) and the Wendigo (warriors who still weren't over colonization) being Native American. Then again, the game also had tribes of urban primitives, Amazons, Irish warrior-poets, and Egyptian travelers, so it was a bit of a grab bag. Also, werewolves gained their particular form of magic, Gifts, by making deals with spirits.
- Werewolf wasn't the only game in the Old World of Darkness to work the Native American motifs. Mage: The Ascension had the Dreamspeakers, a mystical Tradition made up of shamans of all types (Aborigines, Native Americans, African bushmen, even modern technoshamans) who showed a mastery over the spirit world. Changeling The Dreaming had the Nunnehi, changelings who took after Native American myths the same way the Kithain took after European (and African) myths, and whose relationship with the Kithain ranged from "friendly, but keep your distance" to "fucking white man."
- The tribes and spiritual motifs continue in the successor game, Werewolf: The Forsaken, but the Native American themes are downplayed. Furthermore, the werewolves in this game aren't so much protectors of the spirit world as they are protectors of humanity from a rapacious spirit world.
- Necromunda has the Ratskins.
- In Witchcraft, the Native Americans had just as many coven equivalents as everyone else. The reason the Natives didn't use their magical superpowers to stop the White Man was because the Combine nullified their advantages somehow.
- Mother Raven (from the Superhero RPG Silver Age Sentinels) is a shaman (and one of the setting's major heroines) who received her powers from the actual Raven.
- In the Ravenloft campaign, the Nightmare Lands are home to the Abber nomads, primitive humans who have a culture and general appearance similar to North American tribes. (Their language is described as "absolutely unique" and unlike "any tongue spoken by any other race in any known land", hinting that they may have origins with actual Native Americans, like the inhabitants of Odiarre, whose language is described the same way, as it is Gothic Earth's equivalent of Italian.) While they can't outright use magic (unless they gain levels as druids, and some do) living in the Nightmare Lands have made their minds tough enough to withstand a place that tends to drive visitors insane; they don't dream, and can distinguish illusion from reality with ease. (One source gives a flat 25% chance of such magics failing against them, while other sources say it depends on several factors.)
- Pictured above: Nightwolf, the Badass Bookworm from the Mortal Kombat games. He's probably a parody of this trope: all of his moves are stereotypes to some degree and in the initial release of MK3, he could run faster than the guy he just threw.
- "I AM TUROK!" His magical power, of course, was the ability to carry enough firepower to kill half the planet. The comics originally just had a lone Indian fighting for survival in a valley inhabited by dinosaurs, but the video games took it up to eleven by not only fighting said dinosaurs with a mere bow and arrow, but also using modern manmade weapons and other outlandishly exotic guns, riding pteranadons and styracosaurs, traveling to a post-apocalyptic future and to Hell via portals, and communicating with aliens. The comics justified this madness by the explanation that Turok (The title that the main character must take up) must seal away the portals to other worlds as part of their tribal duty.
- In Prey, aliens start their invasion of the Earth with a reservation and the main character ends up using spirit magic to fight them off. The main character's grandpa fits the bill better, though. Before getting abducted, the hero thought all that stuff was just so much eyewash. The "(frequently Native American) character who thinks all that stuff is hoohah but has to take on his grandfather's shamanic mantle" is a trope in its own right.
- Chief Thunder from Killer Instinct.
- Vulcan Raven from Metal Gear Solid has some elements of this, though surprisingly without much of the actual magic part. While he's able to instantly know that Snake is half-Japanese (he certainly doesn't look it) by making one of the ravens that swarm him eat a small chunk of Snake's face, claims to be able to predict the future, lays curses on people with the tattoos on his body and is eaten up by his ravens almost instantly upon death, it's actually no weirder than most Metal Gear bosses. And in his boss battle, he prefers to invoke the mysterious cosmic powers of a M61 Vulcan. The "Magical" aspect of this trope when it comes to Raven is more prominently featured in The Last Days Of FOXHOUND.
- Averted by Thunder Hawk and Rick Strowd of Street Fighter and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, respectively. While both are fighting to protect their people, neither of them have any "shaman" powers: they rely on good old-fashioned brute strength. Hell, since neither of them has anything in the way of Ki Manipulation, they're appreciably less "magical" than most fighters in their respective series.
- The Tauren from World of Warcraft are considered to be the most spiritually attuned to the land; until the Cataclysm expansion pack, they were the only Horde race that could take the druid class. Needless to say, they live in teepees, have large totem poles, and wear lots of leather. Despite being cows, they're clearly omnivorous and hunt (although, to avoid Carnivore Confusion, the stand-in species for buffalo are vaguely saurian). New Tauren characters are even given a Vision Quest. They're also one of the most overwhelmingly "good" races in the game.
- Shadow Hearts: From the New World gives us two: Natan, a quiet dual gun-wielding bad boy, and his traveling partner Shania (a literal case, as she can transform just like Yuri from the previous two games).
- While averted in One Must Fall: 2097 in that Raven, the (apparently) Native American character is a purely urban kickboxer and bodyguard to the Big Boss, he seems to somehow have become a Magical Native American by the sequel game, appearing as the boss of the first tournament with his now-well-known mystical defensive power... which also protects the robot he's remotely piloting (OMF doesn't do flesh-and-blood combat). Ookay.
- The Baskars of the Wild Arms series have more than a bit of this, being in harmony with nature, very capable with the setting's Functional Magic and Magitek, and given to a distinctly Native American visual theme. A partial subversion comes in the fact that they aren't really an ethnic group, more of a religious commune which anyone may join.
- And Gallows is an outright subversion; he's Baskar and has both the look and the magical powers of the trope, but his personality—an idiot lecher who doesn't want to fulfill his responsibilities, even outright running from them—defies it. He defies the Squishy Wizard trope to a "T", as well.
- The Pokémon Xatu is made to resemble a Totem Pole creature, and coincidentally, is a Psychic-type. It could be a tribute to haplogroup D, since its feather pattern when its wings are closed is distinctly Ainu.
- Suikoden III has Aila, a Shaman-in-training from the Karaya Tribe. We never get to see what a full-fledged shaman is capable of; however, she can communicate with the spirits of nature and 'read' the earth well enough that she's able to track 'unnatural magic' with relative ease. This saves her from being caught up in the Hate Plague cast on Karaya, as she senses the spell being cast and goes to investigate. There is also Jimba a.k.a. Wyatt Lightfellow, who's pretty handy with a Water Rune having a True Rune and all, but it's never utilized in the way this trope would, since pretty much anyone in the setting can use a Rune.
- Humba Wumba in Banjo-Tooie is a transformation-magic-using shamaness who lives in a magical teepee. In "Nuts and Bolts", she keeps the Hulk Speak and makes occasional references to both her own magical traditions (sometimes thanking you for your contribution to the shaman magic awareness fund when you make purchases) and Mumbo's, but otherwise the magic is ignored in favor of the various roles she plays throughout the game.
- Dusty Earth in Vigilante 8. "I will make right what's wrong". A shaman and tribe leader in a '70s SUV with a magical eagle that can summon a tornado. Due to the game's semi-realistic '70s setting, this comes across as a bit out of place.
- The Wolves tribe of Digital Devil Saga wear stereotypical Native-American clothes, can shape shift, use magic, are big on honor, and have unwavering loyalty to their leader. The last two can be excused by all but one person in the game world doing it as well however.
- Played with in Assassins Creed III. Connor is a half Native American who does possess superhuman Eagle Vision, but it is inherited from his European father rather than his mundane Native mother, and a genetic trait common to all assassins, having a direct lineage to the precursor civilization.
- Played straight in The Tyranny of King Washington storyline, where drinking tea made from the bark of the Great Willow grants one great power. In Connor's case, he gets the Wolf Cloak ability, taking his ability to blend in Up to Eleven. He can literally run out, stab someone in front of dozens of people, run back into cover, and no one will know what's going on. However, the ability is Cast from Hit Points (they regenerate quickly though). He can also summon three spirit wolves that attack three random enemies nearby. Once again, the wolves are invisible to normal people, so they have no idea what just tore out their friends' throats. However, since the scenario is, apparently, a dream Connor is having, it's likely the tea is a product of his imagination, especially since no one mentions it before (and the Great Willow is absent in the normal game).
- In the second episode of the alternate storyline, Connor takes another swig of the tea and gains the power of the eagle. This one is even more magical than the first one. Connor is able to literally turn into an eagle and fly to any ledge/branch in the vicinity. He can even perform "eagle assassinations". Sneaking around and assassinating people becomes ridiculously easy and even freerunning is no longer a necessity when you can just fly from rooftop to rooftop. It's still Cast from Hit Points but only takes a small part of the life meter.
- Nanakinote 's people in Final Fantasy VII. They are fire-tailed, talking red mountain lion who lives for centuries as the ending cinematic shows. Their role is safeguarding Cosmo Canyon, the holy ground of the Study of Planet Life. The Cosmo Canyon has an overtly Native American theme. Nanaki's Weapon of Choice are 'combs', feathers that adorn the headdress of a Native chief.
- Parodied in the journal comic Moosehead Stew by Alina Pete where she comments on how she has to do her part to keep up the "Mystical Indian" image, citing such requisite powers as: telling the time by the position of the sun, sensing when enemies are approaching, and occaisionally fading into the mists. Her boyfriend is.... skeptical.
Layne: I've seen you trip over your own feet on level sidewalk. Mystical Indian you ain't.
- The Clan of the Hawk attempted to invoke this with William Ghostraven in The Wandering Ones, which was why he left.
William: "The only use the "Clan of the Hawk" had for me was to play "Wise Native Dude." Always asking me about this ceremony or that craft. In the before time, I worked in a freakin' Casino! I just wanted to scream!"
- Romeo in No Songs For The Dead is native American, and inherited his magical powers due to his father being a messenger of the Primordial, an entity who is also the source of black magic. He does not wear any of the stereotypical clothing or any warpaint, though he does go around bare-chested most of the time.
- The toy-based animated series Bravestarr, which had a titular character based on this trope... Just, like said, in space. Magical Native Spacemerican. He was the on-duty marshal of a mining colony on the planet "New Texas", making liberal use of animal powers bestowed on him by spirits. His mentor's name was "Shaman"...
- John Blackstar is fanonically considered American Indian. That said, the original intention was for him to be African-American, but this in conjuncture with naming both the show and the character "Blackstar" was deemed a little beyond the pale. It seems to be its own trope for Filmation.
- Gargoyles sort of zig-zags on this one: it includes a few of the typical "you're magic, get closer to your roots" versions of this trope during the World Tour arc, but then, in this world All Myths Are True and it does the same thing for plenty of other cultures. Also, the main human character is half-Indian (and half-black), yet has a decidedly non-stereotypical job as a detective in the New York City Police Department. Elisa Maza's father is also this, but he's not very fond of the idea. He eventually ends up accepting it though. Of course his magical nature pretty much comes down to sharing some sort of bond with the Coyote, other than that he's a pretty ordinary old man. Meanwhile, his daughters are thoroughly urbanized city folk with Beth learning about her ancestor's ways through formal student in university.
- The Simpsons had an episode where Bart is shown his somewhat unpleasant future (as a drunken, washed-up rock star living with Ralph Wiggum) by the head of a Native American casino after he tries to sneak into the casino in The Great Gabbo's dummy case. At first, this is a Double Subversion: When they meet, Bart is very surprised that the casino owner knows his name and thinks he's this trope, before revealing he knows it because Homer put Bart down as collateral while taking out a second mortgage on the house. He then reveals he really is this trope.
- John Redcorn of King of the Hill plays with this trope pretty heavily. He has a leitmotif of being introduced with spiritual noise and blowing leaves, even on mundane occasions. He has also been nailing Dale's wife for years (with Joseph as proof of that, despite Dale's claim that Joseph's brown skin is from a Jamaican grandmother Dale allegedly has). A fair amount of his spiritual talk comes across as simply B.S. as part of his profession as a masseur/faith healer. Indeed, his job is mostly a front for bedding women; when Hank goes in for treatment, it's revealed that make-out music and mood lighting automatically activate in his "treatment room".
- On the other hand, some episodes do portray him as genuinely spiritual, an advocate of his native culture, and possessing a measure of wisdom and insight. When played straight, it generally serves the show's theme of mocking romantic, exotified views of other cultures and instead focusing on undercutting racism by showing characters' fundamental similarity. Redcorn's "love for the land" is shown to be no fundamentally different from the love Hank Hill has for his home (and propane), and is appealed to in similar terms.
- Challenge of the Super Friends had Apache Chief, whose magic phrase "inekchok" (which causes him to grow to 50 feet tall) used to be quoted at the top of this page. One episode says that this is the Apache word for "giant man" (it isn't). In one episode, this power was far more powerful; he was able to say the word dozens of times in succession and actually become bigger than the Earth itself in order to fight a Cosmic Entity that was just as big. (This is clearly a case of New Powers as the Plot Demands, but it did seem to come out of nowhere.) There are also not one, but two episodes in which some of the Superfriends find their comrades "with the help of Apache Chief's keen tracking abilities."
- South Park
- Parodied in an episode of where Indians are about to buy out South Park to build a casino, and Stan has to become a Magical Middle Class White Guy. Complete with Vision Quest.
- The 'magic native' trope is ridiculed further in "It Hits the Fan'' where they (rightfully) assume that a Las Vegas waiter could identify a mystic Arthurian gemstone, simply by being British.
- In another episode dealing with alternative medicine, there was Chief Running Pinto and Carlos Ramirez. This is an odd double-subversion. On the one hand, they're paper-thin scammers. On the other, they're really Mexicans. But of course, only Americans believe that border with Mexico always existed.
- Family Guy
- See the episode where Lois loses the car to corrupt Native American casino owners. They realize they are being jerks, give the car back and wonder what the hell is wrong with them. The fact they are very rich is a comfort.
- Another episode, "PTV," has a cameo from the above-mentioned Apache Chief, whom Peter summons to install his satellite dish. Having done so, Apache Chief dejectedly says that was the high point of his day and goes off to gamble.
- The Native Martians in Futurama play the part, as they can summon sandstorms by making some strange noise. Aside from hypnotoad, and a few Energy Beings they seem to be the only race in the Futurama verse capable of something resembling magic.
- They also parody it when, discovering that the "bead" that their ancestors traded their land for is actually a gargantuan diamond (they'd just assumed it was worthless because their ancestors had no sense of value), they are delighted to realise that they're rich, and are happy to leave Mars and just buy a new planet, where they'll "act like it's sacred".
- Hawk in Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic is literally this; bonus points because he has the stereotypical connection to nature.
- Gray Owl in the 1997 animated series The New Adventures of Zorro is Zorro's mentor in spirituality and magic. A very similar character called White Owl appears in the 2005 novel Zorro by Isabel Allende, where she's Diego's grandmother. In Zorro Generation Z, another (unnamed) version of the character is a six-year-old girl who gives Zorro cryptic advice, but who he later recognises in a portrait of his dead grandmother when she was young.
- Jonny Quest
- In the TOS episode "Werewolf of the Timberland", White Feather can talk to animals and perform a Stealth Hi/Bye worthy of Batman himself.
- Hilariously subverted in one episode of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, that ironically deals with Magical Native Americans. Jonny and co meet one old man who turns out to be completely ordinary person, who only knows Jonny's name because it's written on the dog's collar, and he only guessed that the enemy has a helicopter because he saw one recently, as opposed identifying the trail a helicopter would leave behind after taking off. Despite this, both he and his wife are sufficiently amused by the idea that they start acting as stereotypical Native Americans for the rest of the episode, from referring to themselves as Indians, to calling Lorenzo 'white man', culminating in them honoring an old native tradition at the end of the episode.
- On Young Justice Jaime talks to his friend's grandfather, who seems to be this. Played for Laughs: the Scarab calls him "unbalanced" and, when the grandfather says something insightful, declares that he "knows too much" and must be destroyed. Said friend, Tye, is specifically a re-invention of an older comic book character who fell into this trope (and had basically no other defining features) in an attempt to make him more interesting and remove the Unfortunate Implications.