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Indian Maiden

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The Indian Maiden is the apple of both the Native and White man's eye, a slender young woman who can travel with her father/brothers on journeys as well as aid her mother and children in their tents as they prepare a meal for the hunters. She is also the calming force behind her father or chieftain, helping him through the difficult times of woe in an age that threatens their way of life. She will often have a Meaningful Name such as Little Rose or Quiet One that relates to her personality.

More often than not, she will fall in love accidentally with the White Man who likes her as well and wants to marry her. Often this can be seen as a litmus test to see whether the white man is worthy of being part of their tribe.

She might also be The Chief's Daughter. Compare Magical Negro, Noble Savage, Nubile Savage, Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow.


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  • Land O'Lakes' advertising mascot was a beautiful Native American woman, who was eventually retired in April 2020 out of concerns that the character was not politically correct.

    Comic Books 
  • Chinook, the beautiful Sioux wife of Hunter Trapper Buddy, in Buddy Longway.
  • Little Bird, Jonah Hex's companion during his twilight years, shows many signs of being this trope. She is young, conventionally beautiful, and supremely unflappable.
  • The title character of Crisse's Luuna. She typically barely wears anything except for flimsy Braids, Beads and Buckskins, but when her Superpowered Evil Side kicks in, she loses even that much, opting for slapping on black war paint all over her body.
  • Crie-dans-le-Vent from Les Pionniers du Nouveau Monde. The series gets a fair bit of Fanservice from that character, as she is often depicted topless.
  • Moon Fawn, who becomes the wife of Tomahawk. He first comes across her when she is bathing in a river and saves her from a bear attack. She falls in love with him and he has to prove his worthiness to her father, Chief Grey Elk.

    Films — Animation 
  • Cholena in An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island. She is a member of a Lost Tribe of Native American mice living in caves under New Yor City. Her father Chief Wulisso sends her to the surface to see if they have "changed their ways."
  • Desert Flower from The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound played this straight. She is the daughter of the Native American chief who skips through the valley to pick flowers, only to find the eponymous hero who suffers an amnesia.
  • Tiger Lily in Disney's Peter Pan. Very calm despite Hook's threats and implied to be one of Peter Pan's many conquests.
  • Pocahontas: The title character of the Disney movie spends the movie attempting to prevent war between her tribe and the European settlers. Her first scene (canoeing) shows her to be athletic and she falls for the thrill seeking European John Smith. Her showcase song "Colors of the Wind" shows how she lives in harmony with nature, and she teaches John Smith to see as she does. In the sequel, she goes over to Europe for diplomacy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The guide Shaquinna in Almost Heroes, the expedition's Expy of Sacagawea.
  • Black Robe: Annuka is The Chief's Daughter who falls in love with a white man. However, she actively defies the Damsel in Distress stereotype and is much more hot-headed and impatient than her father.
  • Stands With a Fist in Dances with Wolves. She's a white woman who was captured as a girl and raised by the tribe.
  • In the Land of the Head Hunters: Naida, apparently the prettiest girl in the Kwakwaka'wakw tribe of British Columbia. Functions as a Living MacGuffin — originally promised in an Arranged Marriage to the bad guy, stolen away from the bad guy by the hero, stolen again by the bad guy's even more evil brother, finally returned to the hero in the Happy Ending.
  • Sacagawea from Night at the Museum and its sequel, who serves both as an Action Girl and as a Love Interest for Teddy Roosevelt.
  • On Deadly Ground has one in the form of Masu, the daughter of Eskimo tribe chief Silook, played by Joan Chen.
  • Subverted in Rhymes for Young Ghouls. Aila is statuesque, beautiful, and wears two long braids; she could easily resemble the popularized fantasy of Native American women. She also is a drug dealer and a graffiti artist; she wears hunting jackets and a gas mask when she sells drugs. Her contrasting appearance, as well as her toughness and ruthlessness, utterly contradict the docile, obedient nature of the trope.
  • Shanghai Noon: Chon Wang's wife. Notable in that her love interest is Chinese, not white. In any case, she can handle herself in fight as well or better than her husband and his cowboy companion.
  • Kura (Tania Bristow) from Utu (1983) is the Maori equivalent: walking barefoot, enjoying being chased in the forest, having a love affair with Scott, and participating in the rebellion.
  • White Fang 2 has Lily Joseph is a Haida princess to help Henry Casey see things the Inuit way.
  • Silver Fox, Wolverine's Native American (Blackfoot/Niitsítapi) Love Interest and pawn of Stryker in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

  • Bazil Broketail: Lumbee is essentially this — a young and beautiful woman from a primitive people, living off the land and being constantly harrassed by slave raiders from the "civilized" city to the south.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in The Difference Engine when a hack writer is adapting the North American adventures of the Adventure Archaeologist protagonist, and portrays the Native American girl he slept with as a dusky young Indian maiden when she was a middle-aged widow missing two teeth and as lean as a wolf.
  • Magawisca of Hope Leslie. Not only does she get to save the life of Everell a la Pocahontas and John Smith (though nothing ever indicated that she falls for him — if anything, he might have developed feelings for her), but she has a rather...close relationship with the eponymous character, who's helping to teach her that despite the brutal slaughter of her family and kidnapping of her sister that caused her to be raised among the Pequods, the ways of the Noble Savage are not wrong and in fact have much wisdom. This may be why she gets to be a heroine in her own right.
  • Frederick Manfred's 1954 novel Lord Grizzly spins an embroidered yarn about Hugh Glass (whose story would later be adapted into The Revenant). As this article points out, Manfred gave Glass a Native American wife, and explains why Bending Reed makes a superior wife: unlike a white woman, she knows her proper place is to serve her lord and husband.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Michael O'Halloran, Douglas specifically points out that the woman who made the gorgeous basket does not fit the type: "I wish I might truthfully report an artist's Indian of the Minnehaha type".
  • Rebecca Caldwell from the So Bad, It's Good, sex and blood drenched White Squaw series is a rare example of one of these characters as a protagonist.
  • Winnetou (1893) by the German writer Karl May.
    • "Nscho-tschi" means "Beautiful (or Fair) Day", and is described both by the narration and the characters (including the enemies) as being the most beautiful daughter of all the Apache tribes, and even of all the Amerindian tribes. Her legendary beauty is surpassed only by her equally well-known, tragic love for Old Shatterhand, which had led to her untimely death.
      • She was shown to be able to carry a very serious and heavy conversation with Old Shatterhand on the themes of life and death, religion, science, the cultural differences between the whites and the Indians, and what each culture expects from a woman. Despite her strong feelings of love for him, she challenges and even defies him, calls him naive, and puts him in his place. At the end of her impassioned speech, he is left staring at her in awe, and feels that he has no right to tell her what she can or can't do. He also notices that she's even more beautiful when she's angry, "like a goddess of revenge".
    • Kah-o-oto ("Black Hair") of the neighboring (and enemy) Kiowa tribe is another good example, and her resemblance to Nscho-tschi is noticed repeatedly by Old Shatterhand. They meet when he falls prisoner to the Kiowas, in a parallel to his first meeting with Nscho-tschi (where he was a prisoner of the Apaches). There is even a tentative suggestion of arranged marriage, in order to save his life, but Old Shatterhand refuses. She gracefully accepts his rejection, and still helps him escape. In a sequel set decades later, she is shown as being much more action-orientated, very lonely, and apparently still very much in love with Old Shatterhand. He is shown to be aware of this as well, and offers to be her "brother". Oh, and she becomes good friends with his wife.
    • Ribanna, the Rose of the Assiniboins, is the only woman Winnetou has ever loved. This happened when he was almost still a child, so it's no surprise that she chose another husband — Winnetou's best friend at that time, the white hunter Old Firehand. Winnetou accepts her choice, gives Old Firehand a very stoic version of the If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... speech, returns later to avenge her death, then looks after her child before and after she dies. And swears off women forever.
    • Kolma-Puschi ("Black Eyes"), initially thought to be a lonely warrior (or possibly even a sort of spirit) wandering The Plains, turns out to be Tahua ("The Sun"), an Indian maiden of great beauty, educated in the East and married to a white man named Bender, with whom she has two sons - later on, these will be the famed white hunter Old Surehand and Apanatschka, chieftain of a Comanche tribe. Her younger sister Tocbela ("The Sky") was also very beautiful, and in both cases their beauty brought them many, many misfortunes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Downplayed with Isabelle in the Charmed (1998) episode "The Good, the Bad and the Cursed" - where it's her brother who's got the psychic powers and Isabelle is far more street smart and intelligent (not to mention a bit of a Deadpan Snarker). She is however the one who believes in Prue and Cole to help her brother.
  • Frontier (2016): Sokanon is a native Cree warrior and tracker in the Black Wolf gang, conventionally attractive, and becomes an eventual love interest for the Irish immigrant Michael Smythe (following in the footsteps of her late sister, who married the half-Irish Declan Harp).

  • The 1960 song "Running Bear" by Johnny Preston is about two young Native Americans who are in love with another, but happen to be from a different tribe.
  • "Indian Girl - An Adult Story" by Slick Rick from The Great Adventures of Slick Rick is a sex story about an Indian Maiden being seduced by Davy Crockett.
  • "Cherokee Maiden", written by prolific Country Music songwriter Cindy Walker in 1941, made famous by Bob Wills, then later a big hit for Merle Haggard, is a Silly Love Song about one.

  • The Indian Princess by James Nelson Barker was the first work to use Pocahontas this way - depicting her as a beautiful, peaceful and poetic soul. Naturally it included a love story with John Smith.

    Video Games 
  • Nonahkee, sister to the hero John Black's ally Kanyenke, in Age of Empires III is probably one (her model is rather low-polygon), given that John Black ends up falling in love with her and she eventually bears his child.

    Web Comics 
  • The eponymous character of Snow By Night is a subtle example, as she is a manitou (etheric being) and not human. She inhabits a remote region in the Fantasy Counterpart Culture equivalent of northern Canada, wears moccasins, associates with wild animals, and has a naive ignorance of the ways of city-dwelling humans. Also, she is the daughter of Father Winter, which arguably makes her The Chief's Daughter. But in contrast with the typical characterization of an Indian Maiden, she has a Lack of Empathy and a bad temper.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Very Personal Injury", Harvey helps Apache Chief sue a coffee shop for spilling hot coffee on him, robbing him of his ability to grow large (it's deliberately left vague whether this is referring to his Sizeshifter powers or something else). Reducto foils Harvey's case by dressing up his witness, a waitress from the coffee shop, as a beautiful Indian Maiden — at the same time he's asking her questions no less — complete with a feather headdress, buckskin dress, and a deer eating out of her hand. Apache Chief is so excited that he immediately turns into a giant, proving that he can still grow large.
  • Little Strongheart in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is this in spades, being just a calf but faster and just as strong as any of the other buffalo in her tribe. As for calming influence? She's the only dove in a tribe of hawks.
  • The Venture Brothers: Sgt. Hatred's ex-wife, Princess Tinyfeet is a parody. Not much is known about her except for some stereotypical Native American characteristics (such as the way she dresses, referring to corn as "maize", and owning a teepee). She is the daughter of Native American superhero Chief Justice. She is also an extreme sexual deviant and has an array of fetishes, mostly revolving around BDSM .

    Real Life 
  • The historical Pocahontas went over to the English lock-stock-and-barrel by turning Christian, marrying an Englishman (NOT John Smith) and wowing the Court of King James as "The Lady Rebecca". In fact she was so royal that James wondered if her husband, John Rolfe, shouldn't be punished for presuming to marry a princess (her father was something like the king of their tribe). It should be noted, though, that when she met Smith, she wasn't old enough to qualify as a maiden (at least, not a legal maiden).
  • Zintkala Nuni (Lakotah), Lost Bird, one of four infant survivors of the Wounded Knee Massacre, was taken as a "curio" from the field by Lt. Col. Leonard Colby and presented without notice to his wife, women's rights activist Clara Bewick Colby. Portrayed romantically as a "civilized" Indian Maiden by the media, Zintkala became pregnant by Colby at fifteen. She later attempted to return to her people but could not fit in. She died of a heart attack at thirty. Buried in an unmarked grave, she was found in 1991 and reburied at Wounded Knee. Native children removed from their people are called Lost Birds.
  • Kateri Tekakwitha, whose canonization has raised comments on how much of her life and sainthood is an example of the worst of colonization.
  • Monahsetah who was one of the captives during the Battle of Washita River and became the mistress of George Armstrong Custer. According to Cheyenne oral accounts, Custer unofficially married her under the native customs. This trope is zigzagged however. It's unknown what exactly she felt for him given Custer killed her father prior in a massacre and that he abandoned her months later after he reunited with his other wife.