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Magical Native American

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Paris: Isn't there some Indian trick where you can turn yourself into a bird and fly us out of here?
Chakotay: You're too heavy.

A specific type of Ethnic Magician, centered around indigenous peoples (for example, Native Americans, Canadian First Nations, and Aboriginal Australians) and fantasy races based around them. Natives that fall under this trope have magical powers coming from innate spirituality or closeness to nature that "civilized" races don't have. Such powers usually involve influence over nature or 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. Overlap with Badass Native is far from uncommon.

If the indigenous magic comes from beyond the grave, see Indian Burial Ground.

Works often use this trope to promote a "positive" image of indigenous peoples rather than accurately portraying their culture or developing them as characters. Like Noble Savage, this trope can have obvious Unfortunate Implications. While this trope does render indigenous peoples badass in their own right, it also furthers stereotypes of them as exotic outsiders, and often trivialises deep spiritual traditions as mere fantastical magic in a manner that many real indigenous people view as disrespectful (compare how Hollywood Voodoo treats the similarly real religion Voudoun). In some cases the characters are often framed as luddite and anti-technology in favour of being one with nature, ignoring the vast empires and complex technologies Indigenous Americans had (though tech-savvy examples do exist).

If this character is a superhero, see Captain Ethnic. See also Magical Negro and Magical Asian. Contrast with Hollywood Natives. noreallife


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Though Geronimo Jr. aka 005 of Cyborg 009 plays more the Gentle Giant role and is Made of Iron, he also has some degree of empathy related to nature that does not come from Black Ghost's Cyborg Project.
  • 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.
  • Luke's mother Adelaide, from GARO: Vanishing Line was a Makai Alchemist and a Magic Gunwoman who fought with magical Guns Akimbo, the very ones Luke now carries.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has had two named native American characters throughout its run, both of whom possessed Stands (psychic powers formed from the person's spirit).
    • Devo the Cursed appears in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, and his Stand "Ebony Devil" allows him to "curse" people by having a doll he controls remotely attack them, so long as they injure him first.
    • Sandman whose true name is Soundman, appears in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run, and his Stand "In A Silent Way" allows him to incorporate onomatopoeia (a staple in JoJo) into offensive or defensive tactics. He's given more characterization than Devo, with his status as a native American as actually part of his character, considering Steel Ball Run is set in 19th century America.
  • Sara Nome in Macross Zero. She gets fought over because of her magical power. In actuality it's just that Protoculture technology recognizes and reacts to her because of her blood type. The Mayans of the South Pacific 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 her village the latest battlefield.
  • In Midori Days 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.
  • 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 reservation. 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.
  • Shaman King
    • Zig-Zagged with the Patch Tribe, the group of Native Americans who administer the Shaman Fight. While they do genuinely have a special place even among other shamans (being privy to the physical location of God), they also play up their mystical image a bit by calling their clearly-electronic communicators "traditional handicrafts"note  and trying to peddle overpriced trinkets as good luck charms (justified by the extreme strain that hosting such a massive global event places on the tribe's finances). They do wear full traditional garb while on-duty, but many shamans are traditionalists especially when dressing for a fight (sometimes even Enforced by their choice of medium).
    • Downplayed in the manga when, seeking leads on the location of Patch Village, the protagonists visit various Native American reservations and find their inhabitants to be no more spiritually sensitive than the general population. This includes a meeting with a "normal" Native American shaman whose use of traditional imagery is far more subdued, and who barely knows anything more about the mysterious Patch than they do. In other words, it's less that Native Americans in general are portrayed this way, and more that the Patch Tribe are a Mage Species who happen to be Native American.

  • Comedian Greg Warren has a joke questioning why every traditional Native American elder in fiction is so all-knowing and infallible in their wisdom, and wonders whether or not there are any out there who instead give stupid, terrible advice like some of the old rednecks in his own family:
    Wise Elder: "If you are having problems with your woman, go to her village, and steal her corn. And she will know you are a man of courage."
    Greg: "What are you talking about?!"
    Wise Elder: "I am just saying!"

    Comic Books 
  • A runaway young man in Beasts of Burden can understand and speak animal. The only reason he gives is that his "people" do that too, and given his tattoos and explanations about them, he's Native American.
  • "Crazy Wolf" from the Chick Tract of the same name, although (no surprise here) he's portrayed negatively.
  • The DCU:
    • Aquaman archnemesis Ocean Master was both half-Native American and an Evil Sorcerer in the Post-Crisis continuity, yet subverts the trope—his magic powers come not from his native heritage, but from having sold his soul to the (very Christian) demon lord Neron.
    • Silver Deer, an erstwhile Firestorm (DC Comics) 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. The Black Bison is himself a Native American with an impressive command of magic.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Downplayed in the Disney Ducks Comic Universe with the Peeweegah; created by Carl Barks for his story "Land of the Pygmy Indians", they are one of several technology-avoiding Perfect Pacifist People cultures created by him, and consist of extremely short (about the height of Huey, Dewey and Louie) Native Americans with enormous noses. Their "magic" mostly manifests in their ability to talk to the animals and move with preternatural stealth in their home in the forests of Canada. Naturally, they were brought back by Don Rosa at least once, in "War of the Wendigo".
  • 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 - let's say Art Deco.
  • 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.
  • In Lori Lovecraft, one of Lori's boyfriends is Arthur Black Crow: a Native American shaman with the ability to transform into a crow. He tutors Lori in the use of magic.
  • 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.
  • Many Native American, First Nations and Aboriginal Australian characters in the Marvel Universe have ended up either using magic or going on a Vision Quest at some point.
    • Alpha Flight: Michael Twoyoungmen, aka Shaman, is a magical shaman. His daughter Elizabeth inherited magical powers as well and became the super heroine Talisman.
    • Captain America becomes one of these in a What If?, and Marvel 1602.
    • Champions: In Champions, Amka Aliyak / Snowguard is introduced as a regular teen who just happens to be Inuit. Later on, she gets the power to shape-shift as a gift from Sila, the spirit of Northern Canada. So she is magical and Native American, but neither is necessarily related to the other.
    • Aboriginal Australians are frequently portrayed with magical powers. 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) from Contest of Champions (1982) and Gateway from X-Men''.
      • 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.
    • The Ghost Rider: The original 1967 series was a Western, and the titular Ghost Rider's origin story involved the Native American medicine man Flaming Star, who healed Carter Slade, equipped him and named him as The Chosen One, saying that the Great Spirit had predicted his coming. Although Slade refuses to believe there's magic involved and the series keeps some level of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane, it's generally implied that Flaming Star has real powers.
    • 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.
    • She-Hulk's Native American boyfriend Wyatt Wyngfoot turns out to have a rich magical heritage. Initially just Human Torch's Muggle buddy from college (a great athlete at the school, he was an expy of famed Olympic Athlete Jim Thorpe), he had no magic powers. He claimed to be good with dogs but couldn't handle Lockjaw.
    • Spider-Man: 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.
    • Downplayed with Forge from X-Men. He has powerful shamanic powers and used them to summon demons against the Viet Cong when his troops were wiped out and he lost his leg in the Vietnam War. This enabled the Adversary to appear so he used his powers again and defeated it in the '80s. After that, everything about Forge has inventing new tech and using the BFG of the day and mention of his magic is practically nonexistent in over 30 years.
  • Prez (1973): Prez Rickard's longstanding friend, companion and FBI head is Eagle Free, a Native American who continually dresses the part and is surrounded by a group of animals.
  • The Passengers of Revival were raised by a Hindu ritual, but a Native American is able to use his own tribe's rites to understand and trap them.
  • 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.
  • Blackfeather in Silverblade. When he first appears, he is a wizened old Indian who works as a medium conducting seances. Later he is rejuvenated into a youthful form with the ability to transform into Native American totemic animals.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • In the re-write of The End of Ends, Beast Boy and Terra are told the events of the story by a Native American man with a magical campfire.

    Films — Animated 
  • Subverted in Frozen II. Anna and Elsa ask if the indigenous Northuldranote  are magic, but their father emphasizes that they are regular people who've simply adapted to living in a magical land. The mystical qualities of nature are an important part of their spirituality, but none of them have any kind of special powers.
  • Pocahontas depicts the real life historical figure as a wise All-Loving Hero who all animals flock to. She has distinct shaman like powers - she's able to dive off high cliffs without getting hurt, can communicate with spirits around her and is able to learn English via "listening with your heart". She is however distinct from the other members of the tribe - none of whom have these powers, though they share the spirituality.
  • In Pocahontas (Golden Films) the Native Americans can talk to birds and have a living canoe for...some reason.
  • Parodied beautifully in Rango with deputy Wounded Bird, no matter how much Rango would like to think it's being played straight.
    Rango: (as Wounded Bird scatters feathers in the wind) I see you're communicating with the spirits.
    Wounded Bird: No. I'm molting. It means I'm ready to mate.
  • The Simpsons Movie features an Inuit medicine woman who sends Homer on a vision quest after he loses his family in Alaska.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Played with in Blood Quantum: First Nations peoples and those with partial First Nations ancestry are the only humans immune to zombification, but this leads some of them, such as Lysol, to lord it over the white refugees who seek safety in their reservation and eventually attempt to enact genocide on them as payback for centuries of discrimination.
  • Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw: Lyle, Bobbie Jo, and Essie sit naked in a pond somewhere with a Magical Native American they call "Grandfather" who passes out magic mushrooms; Lyle has a vision. Amusingly, the film doesn't bother to explain how they met Grandfather or happened to trip on 'shrooms with him, and after the movie cuts to the next scene Grandfather is never seen again.
  • Brotherhood of the Wolf has Mani, who can do all kinds of things, like talk to animals, fight, and track anything. Apparently he can also tell what everyone's spirit animal might be.
  • Frank Redbear from Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, played by famous Native American actor Ned Romero. He's a local college professor of Agriculture who at times tells of what his ancestors taught him and plays up the role, but then averts it, usually with snark. Though it is possible he is magic as implied at the end of the film.
  • Creepshow 2 has "Old Chief Wood'nhead," a statue of an Indian chief that stands in front of Spruce's General Store... until Ben Whitemoon gives the Spruces a satchel of jewelry donated by all of the Native American families in the area to serve as collateral for their debts. Then it's possessed by the spirit of an ancient Native American warrior. The Chief goes on the hunt after Sam Whitemoon and his friends kill the Spruces and steal the satchel.
  • 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?
  • Subverted in Dance Me Outside. When Silas offers a smoke to a crow, it bites him and flies away, despite being his totem animal.
  • 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.
  • The teenage protagonist of The Dead Lands can speak with the dead, including his Witch Doctor grandmother.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • House Shark: Darth Squanto, the specialist that Ulysses hires to deal with the house shark problem. He's basically a Native American with force powers.
  • Iron Will has Ned, a Native Alaskan who is a friend to Will Stoneman's family and is Will's mentor in sledracing. On top of that, he talks to animals by speaking in his Indigenous language.
  • 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.
  • Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man. "Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't."
  • 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 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.
  • In Madame Web (2024), the spider of the Peruvian Amazon whose bite grants mystic powers was common knowledge to a supposedly mythical indigenous tribe of the area known as the "spider-people" who punish evil-doers and those who attempt to "steal" the spider (for their own good, as those who do become "cursed").
  • 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.
  • The Missing (2003) 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.
  • Taylor, the eccentric but benevolent shaman in Poltergeist II: The Other Side.
  • 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. He also keeps a medicine bag around his neck at all times, suggesting he takes his people's traditions (implicitly Mohawk) very seriously.
  • Subverted in the plot of the Mystery Science Theater 3000-mocked film The Pumaman. 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.
  • One appears in Purgatory. More specifically, he turns out to be St. Peter in Indian form.
  • Averted in The Quick and the Dead. Spotted Horse brags that no bullet can kill him because he's survived being shot so many times. Turns out he can be killed—he just doesn't go down easily.
  • In The Right Stuff, an aboriginal explains to an astronaut stationed at an Australian tracking station that their holy man visits space too and that he will greet the orbiting John Glenn. The holy man raises a shower of sparks to the heavens from a hilltop. Soon after, Glenn sees a shower of sparkling lights around his space capsule.
  • In Savaged, Grey Wolf is a shaman who finds Zoe after she has been Left for Dead. He preforms a ritual in an attempt to bring her back, but she comes back wrong.
  • 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.
  • Thunderheart:
    • "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 main character, a federal agent assigned to investigate a murder at Pine Ridge Reservation (and the hero of the piece, mind you), iscontemptuous 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, 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!
  • Walkabout had a young aboriginal boy who fit this perfectly, to the point of a senseless suicide.
  • 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 (1991).
  • Mystic Native American high-steel workers in Wolfen. (The mysticism aspect is not really present in the novel.)
  • White Wolves III: Cry of the White Wolf': The Native American pilot appears to Pamela in a vision after his death.
  • Subverted in Wonder Woman (2017). Chief is magical, but it's because he's a demigod, not Native. It's only revealed in an untranslated conversation in Blackfoot, and otherwise he's just a smuggler with a Hidden Heart of Gold.
  • The Yellow Handkerchief has Gordie believing he's this. He's a white orphan who was raised by Native Americans. It's mostly used to show him as out of touch with reality.

  • 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!"

  • Exploited by Sherman Alexie's character Victor Joseph, who uses his "stoic look" to meet women.
  • 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.
  • Whiskey Jack in Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Though he actually is magical, being a culture hero from Native American mythology (Wisakedjak), 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.
  • 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."
  • 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 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.
  • In Chance And Choices Adventures, main character Noah Swift Hawk is one of these, as are most other Native American mystery men. Usually it's real medicines and scientific principles being presented as magic potions and spells, but not always.
  • 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.
  • Played with in the Dunwych tribals of Cthulhu Armageddon by C.T. Phipps. They are also a subversion in that they are one of the most technologically adept peoples and have access to the most knowledge from before the Rising. It's just that they are also a tribal people, ecologically integrated, worshipers of the Great Old Ones, and take names based upon their deeds as often as not. They also apparently partially related to real-life Native American peoples that survived the Rising.
  • In The Dragon Murder Case, from Philo Vance, someone has been killed at a party and one of the suspects is a man who is half Native American, another suspect - a woman - accuses him of killing the victim using "His mystic Indian skills that allow him to become practically invisible." He is not the murderer, and is not magic.
  • Dream Park: In The California Voodoo Game, Black Elk is the Army team's principal spell-caster, and his Magic-user/Cleric character is patterned on his Native American heritage. Outside the Game, he's just an ordinary mid-21st-century military man.
  • The Dresden Files has Joseph Listens-to-Wind, also known as Injun Joe,note  genuine Illinois medicine man (as well as a medical doctor, getting requalified every decade or so to keep up with mundane advancements), member of the White Council's Senior 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 - and it's part of why more than one person suggests Harry learn from him, not about magic, but about dealing with anger, because he's got previous experience. All in all, Listens-To-Wind is probably the least strained and most badass version of this trope. Ever.
    "Don't plan to bind or banish you, old ghost. Just gonna kick your ass up between your ears."
  • The Aboriginals portrayed in Fall From Grace are a strict and deliberate aversion, and realistically if depressingly portrayed. The portrayal of Aboriginals, Cree in this case, is quite authentic. Leo also has a humourous moment when a Cree man offers him a cigarette, and Leo wonders if turning it down would be an insult to the man's peace offering.
  • 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.
  • Downplayed in From a High Tower. Medicine Chief (and former U. S. Army Scout) Leading Fox being an Air Master is totally justified by magicians occurring in just about every nationality; however the only other members of Captain Cody's Wild West Show aside from Cody himself (a low-level Fire Mage and longtime friend of Leading Fox) and their current announcer/manager (an Austrian who has relatives in the Brotherhood of the Black Forest) who knows anything about magic are the other Pawnee with the show.
  • 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.
  • In the Gods Of Manhattan series, the native Munsees' spiritual beliefs give them actual magic.
  • 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.
  • Harry Potter: Centaurs as a whole are very analogous to Native Americans, especially with the mentions of being allowed restricted territories by the government. Their main methods of Divination consist of stargazing and burning leaves to find patterns in the smoke.
  • Subverted somewhat, in the works of Tomson Highway, including The Rez Sisters—who play bingo.
  • In The House of Night, protagonist Zoey is one-quarter Cherokee, which is often treated as exactly the same as the fact that she joins a vampyric Mage Species. Much mention is made of how her and her grandmother's Cherokee blood makes them closer to nature and more mystically inclined, and Zoey uses smudging rituals when she does spells. The fact that Zoey's mom married a (badly written) Christian and became a housewife, however, is proof that "the Redbird Wise Woman blood had skipped over her."
  • 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.
  • Mercedes Lackey:
    • In the stand alone novel Sacred Ground, the main character has magical powers explicitly because she's a Native American shaman-in-training.
    • The Heralds of Valdemar has a version of 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. Doesn't stop the Hawkbrothers from being portrayed as probably the most magically powerful society in the series.
  • Charles de Lint 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 de Lint's stories. And many of the magical creatures are Celtic, such as the evil faeries.
  • 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.
  • 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. Her powers area also eventually revealed to have come not from her being half-Native American, but because her Native American father was actually Coyote, because the offspring of such unions are always Walkers. 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. However, All Myths Are True and Native American magical abilities don't stand out much in a setting full of witches, werewolves, The Fair Folk, vampires, and even the occassional god or Eldritch Abomination.
  • The Neverending Story has the literally green-skinned Greenskins (Atreyu's people) who live on the plains of the Grassy Ocean are Native Americans with the serial numbers filed off. They even hunt a purple kind of buffalo.
  • 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.
  • Race to the Sun: Both Nizhoni and her younger Mac are direct descendants of the Changing Woman, one of Navajo Holy People, which grants them magical powers needed to fight and slay monsters. But apart from that they dress and behave just like average kids and their Navajo origin is sometimes a burden.
  • In The Saga of the Borderlands, by the argentine writer Liliana Bodoc, the inhabitants of The Fertile Lands are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the pre-Columbian peoples of America, therefore all their magicians - or "Brujos de la tierra" - fall into this category. The main difference between the magicians of The Ancient Lands (the equivalent of Europe in this world) and those of The Fertile Lands, is that they became proud and focused solely on man, while the "Brujos" continue in close contact with nature.
  • A few humans...or 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.
  • In The Secret of Moon Lake by Gloria Tesch (as "Sofia Nova"), the character Mr. Brown is a stock magical Native who, despite residing in a big city, owns a pet hawk, has shamanic powers, chooses to live in the forest and tells mystical, prophetic stories.
  • 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.
  • The Weird West novella Sheep's 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.
  • Played with in "Sixth of the Dusk". Dusk does understand and respect the island, and even worships it in a cautious way, and is violently protective of the land. But when he sees that a small cannon can actually kill the Nightmaws, his first response is to celebrate that they could kill them all. Another character notes that he's disillusioning her of her romantic view of his culture.
  • Played with in Christopher Buehlman's The Suicide Motor Club, a vampire charming stare has no effect on those with True Sight and...native Americans. When the Big Bad, Luther Nixon (a vampire who was an ex-con and NASCAR cheat) and his enforcer are badly weakened from an explosion. They try to take shelter from the sun by going to a native souvenir shop. Unfortunately for them, the owner was a former victim of theirs. He and his nephews couldn't be charmed and they beat the two vamps then execute them by tying them on a railroad track for the rising sun.
  • 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.
  • Tales of the Pack: Lexie is a quarter Cree from her mom. It turns out that like her mom she's also what's called a peacespeaker, a rare werewolf. Her maternal Cree grandmother also had mystical insights which were labeled schizophrenia, and Lexie shares these too.
  • The Twilight Saga 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.
  • 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 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 Superhero 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 female to male, and later going back and forth) and heyoka (someone who does everything backward) are different Character Classes. Whatever the case, being either is considered a mixed blessing.
    • Later that year another character shows up, Pejuta (Kayda Franks, born Brandon), who is the Lakota Messianic Archetype figure known as the Ptesanwi, the Avatar Paladin of Wakan Tanka. While this trope is played a lot straighter for her than with Heyoka, there are more than a few deconstructive aspects of how the it plays out for her, especially when Coyote gets involved.
    • Skinwalkers, or yee naaldlooshi, are sort of the villains of Navajo tradition. It's a real Body Horror to be the victim of one. It isn't clear if the character was aware of how much of a name to run away from really fast it was when he chose it.
  • 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 and 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead has a south-of-the-border version: Pablo's uncle is a "brujo," and Pablo inherits his magical powers.
  • More or less averted in the revival of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, where the native Americans don't have any real powers beside total lack of vertigo, and a plot-significant knowledge of local herbs.
  • Subverted somewhat in an episode of Bones. The investigative team is being introduced to a case by a small-town sheriff who mentions the remains were found by a Native American who will be assisting in the investigation. When someone asks if he's a "Indian tracker" the sheriff remarks sarcastically that since the man is a park ranger and found the remains in the course of his normal duties he "didn't have to use any of his Indian powers." Later on that same sheriff asks the ranger if an apparent Indian ritual site is legitimate, to which he replies, "What am I, a shaman?"
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Thanksgiving episode "Pangs", Buffy faces a Native American vengeance spirit who can shapeshift, and summon ghostly Native American warriors. Of course, magic is hardly limited to Native Americans in the Buffyverse, and this trope is sort of examined — Willow feels sympathetic to the spirit since it's avenging legitimate wrongs, while everyone else points out that, you know, it's still a murderous vengeance spirit that kills people and gave Xander magical syphilis. They wind up destroying it at the end.
  • While following a magic wolf in Magic School in an episode of Charmed (1998), Phoebe runs into a shaman student who sends her on a vision quest.
  • The Colbert Report:
    • Sherman Alexie talks about this myth a lot during his first interview. "No, I can't talk to animals. I have no Dr. Doolittle-type powers. Pocahontas couldn't talk to animals, either. But in the Disney movie, she did talk to Mel Gibson, which sort of counts."
    • It was parodied in a later episode when Colbert underwent a Mushroom Samba (courtesy of Prescott Pharmaceuticals' latest "Vaxa" product); "Chief Wandering Meadow" (Eugene Mirman) shows up to guide Stephen through his imagination; when Colbert points out it "looks so real", Wandering Meadow explains that Colbert simply has a very limited imagination.
  • In the Creepshow episode, "The House of the Head", Evie buys a Tipis and Totem Poles style Native American "chief" to protect her haunted dollhouse from the malevolent head that has been torturing her dolls. He holds the head off for a while, apparently trying to cast out the curse (which is a lot more than any of the regular dolls were able to do, but he does ultimately get beheaded.
  • Criminal Minds mostly subverts it with the episode "The Tribe" and the character of John Blackwolf. Blackwolf is the reservation sheriff and does exhibit excellent powers of deduction, but it's more akin to the skills used by the BAU themselves than anything mystical. He also figures out that the tribal-looking murders are not being done by the Apache - if the UnSubs were Apache, they "wouldn't be so confused", if anything, they'd be more brutal. Finally, Blackwolf is shown to abhor guns, and talks Hotch into taking down the UnSubs, who are college-aged kids brainwashed by a cult leader, with just a baton and his hands. Hotch does end up shooting one.
  • Dharma & Greg has an old Native American who shows up to die in their apartment building because it was built over an ancient burial mound. He returns in at least one later episode as a ghost/spirit guide - or possibly a dream. It's up to the viewer to decide.
  • Echo (2024): In the comics, Echo is a Badass Normal whose skills could arguably count as a Disability Superpower.note  However, since she's Native American, the creators of her TV series seemingly couldn't resist giving her vague but powerful magical abilities inherited from her mythical ancestors.
  • Subverted on Haven with Jess Minion, a Quebecois woman of Mi'kmaq decent. The citizens of Haven believe she's a witch and is casting malicious spells on others using Native American symbolism. She has no powers and readily tells Nathan and Audrey so; she's not even Troubled. She passively encourages the rumors, however, because it means people leave her alone.
  • Heroes has an African bushman with the power to "spirit walk." The powers don't come directly from shamanism, but they're still pretty much yoked to the shamanic motif. He also has the weird ability to extend his power to his headphones so when Matt puts them on, he sees the future too. He also is making Matt get a totem, a turtle.
  • An iCarly example: To avoid revealing an implant that functions as a GPS, the Paper Thin Excuse is "a chip—pewa. A Chippewa Indian guide find you." It should be noted that they're in Tokyo at the time. A bit far from Minnesota.
  • Directly averted in the JAG episode "The Return of Jimmy Blackhorse" where a Navajo medicine woman refuses to believe that the remains of a WWII code talker are the right ones, despite a conclusive DNA analysis.
  • In Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Kolchak faces off against a "diablero," a shapeshifting spirit that can take the form of a Native wearing one tribe's shamanic dress. The actual Native Americans he gets information from are not themselves magical, though, and mostly warn him about how dangerous the diablero is if he's truly dealing with one.
  • A few episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit featured Native American NYPD detective Chester Lake who, despite not otherwise fitting the stereotypes, claimed to be able to sense the mood of the city in a way that on occasion seemed to border on Psychic Powers. He attributed his pseudo-mystical connection to the city to coming from a long line of Native ironworkers who literally built most of modern New York.
  • Malcolm in the Middle had the brother Francis stuck in Alaska with no purpose in his life. He turns to a totem pole that his buddies stole to give him a vision and guidance to his life. He is unable to do so when the original owner turns up and reclaims the pole. Francis begs him to reveal the magic of the totem, to his annoyance. (Its real meaning is to be "a fun summer project for the kids" and something for his car to gently bump into so it doesn't hit the wall of the garage)
    Francis: You can't tell me you can't feel the energy!
    Native American Man: You white boys are all the same. I've got dark skin, so I must dance with the bears and listen to the spirit of the wind! I got news for you, pal: I work for a living, I'm a Baptist and I'm proud of it! Oh, and by the way, I have only one word for snow...SNOW!
  • Subverted in the Masters of Horror episode "Deer Woman". While a Native American working at a local Native American Casino is able to supply some information about the titular legend, he makes it clear that he doesn't believe in it and thinks it's stupid.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: In the shows' universe, there are magic-wielding Ojibwe tribesmen. In the backstory, they played a role in both establishing the modern United States and in keeping Sarah Alder alive, and for that, the Ojibwe were granted sovereignty over the region called Chippewa Cession. The Marshal is one. He has long gray hair, wearing tribal style ornamentation on his clothing with a cowboy hat and dark leather jacket fitting how many modern Native men dress. As a Scarily Competent Tracker, he manages to find Nicte and Scylla, undoing their disguises using a spell he activates by whistling. Of course, given this show has a nearly all witch cast it's not as unusual. He is the first Native American on the show however.
  • The Murder, She Wrote episode "Night of the Coyote" has Jessica in an Old West-themed town, meeting Sam, a mysterious Native American in the desert. She's surprised when she discovers he's the sheriff who blows dust from his hand to tell where a car came from. Jessica calls him out and Sam admits that because the town rests on tourist trade, he plays up the "mystic" stuff for everyone (in reality, he smelled the gas on the ground and was able to figure out its direction) because it's what they expect. Yet he hints near the end it may not all be an act.
  • The main character of the short-lived FOX show New Amsterdam (2008) was made immortal by a Native American shaman after taking a bullet meant for her.
  • In North Of 60, this trope is so common throughout the series (which is set in a Canadian Indigenous northern settlement) that it would be impossible to list every example. Prominent is Joe Gomba, an elderly Dene man who is shown to have ritualistic healing powers, out-of-body experiences, prophetic dreams and connections with wild animals. His female counterpart, Elsie Tsa-che, is an elderly Dene woman who daylights as a lolcal healer and wise woman with every herbal remedy imaginable, including an herb that helps impotent men... er, raise the Canadian flag. Her kitchen looks like an old witch's apocathary. Still, she watches modern drama TV imported from the United States.
  • Parodied in NTSF:SD:SUV::. Alphonse Bearwalker is an Alaskan African-American/Inuit, which, according to him, is why he can telepathically communicate with his dog. His father Alonzo is ridiculously spiritual, claiming that he can read trees like books (and furthermore that they're better than real books anyway).
  • Parodied in Parks and Recreation. The newly renewed Harvest Festival is going to be held on a lot, that also happens to be a site of a historical atrocity against the Wamapoke Indians—which isn't that surprising ("The atrocities are in blue"). The chief of the tribe, Ken Hotate, complains to Leslie, who does not have the power to change it. So Ken goes on TV to say he cursed the festival, which the extremely gullible Pawnee media blows out of proportion, and the equally gullible population buys wholesale. In the end, he agrees to publicly lift the curse, which he does by dancing with a ceremonial necklace on and chanting random things in Wamapoke, as no one in the audience would understand it anyway. Over time, he goes from Leslie's occasional opponent to one of the few community leaders who supports her.
    Chief: There are two things I know about white people: They love Matchbox Twentynote , and they are terrified of curses.
  • Power Rangers Zeo has Tommy's brother David Trueheart. What kind of lame name is David Trueheart, anyway? The whole plot is this. It is implied that David and Tommy's tribe's magic is a result of their ancestors having been in possession of the red Zeo sub-crystal.
  • Averted with the character of Edgar K.B. Montrose on The Red Green Show, played by Aboriginal actor Graham Greene. Edgar is portrayed as obsessed with explosives, despite not having a license and permits and getting all his training by watching a lot of old Roadrunner cartoons, and is more or less as stupid as the rest of the lodge members on the show.
  • Parodied on Reservation Dogs with William Knifeman, Bear's spirit guide. He does dispense some good advice here and there, but he just as often goes off on bizarre tangents about things that may or may not have happened to him in life, and he's mostly just kind of a weird fool.
  • Downplayed with Dan Twelvetrees on Resident Alien. His adoptive daughter Asta says that he claims to have a bad feeling about every man within ten feet of her, but when he sees the Hugh Mann alien Harry Vanderspeigle, he says that he doesn't feel anything from him at all.
  • A few episodes of Roswell feature an elderly Native American called River Dog, who leads a ceremony in a smoke hut that allows him to identify the alien present. He also knows how to heal said alien when the ritual makes him sick. In all fairness, he learned this from the last alien who showed up.
  • The eponymous Seijuu Sentai Gingaman are members of a Nature Hero tribe whose outfits are modeled after the ones worn by indegenous groups from the American continent.
  • An episode of The Sentinel has a shaman of a Peruvian native tribe show up in Cascade. There's also the fact that "Sentinels" seem to have feline spiritual companions and an ancient temple in the jungle that boosts their abilities Up to Eleven. Unfortunately, it also burns them out.
  • In the Smallville episode "Skinwalker", the Native American character Kyla can turn into a wolf.
  • An episode of So Weird takes place on a reservation and includes a tale of the Coyote Spirit who helps those lost in the woods. At the end of the episode, the coyote turns into the Native American who told the story.
  • Star Trek:
    • Chakotay of Star Trek: Voyager is an In Space example complete with a mystical tattoo and vision quests that seemed to do the trick when the navigational deflected transponder isolinear emmitter broke down. One episode, "Tattoo", reveals that aliens had long ago visited Earth and inspired the creation of the culture and traditions of Chakotay's tribe. Subverted in later seasons, when Chakotay speaks about his culture in a more matter-of-fact way, and is knowledgeable in several human cultures due to being an amateur anthropologist.note 
      • Discussed by Tom Paris in the pilot episode when the two are trying to escape from the Ocampan underground:
        Paris: Isn't there some Indian trick where you can turn yourself into a bird and fly us out of here?
        Chakotay: You're too heavy.
      • On the other hand, "Basics (Part II)" reveals his deficiencies in other areas.
        Chakotay: Trapped on a barren planet and you're stuck with the only Indian in the universe who can't start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. I was never good at this as a child and I'm still not good at it.
    • Then there was the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Journey's End", in which Wesley meets Lakanta, a member of a tribe that actually came from the Americas to the planet Dorvan V and settled there in soon-to-be-again Cardassian space. Near the end of the episode, the man freezes time and reveals himself to be The Traveler, whom he'd met in "Where No One Has Gone Before". (This tribe, by the way, was intended to be the origin of the aforementioned Chakotay, according to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (in turn, according to Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki).)
  • The episode of Supernatural titled "Bugs" features a curse of "Death by Bug-Inflicted Murder" on the builders/residents of a housing community unwittingly built on an Indian Burial Ground.
  • Taboo: James's mother was a Native tribeswoman who was sold to his father as part of a deal he made with her tribe. It's implied that she was some sort of witch who passed her affinity with the supernatural on to her son.
  • Deputy Hawk, on Twin Peaks, is mostly an aversion of this, shown to be a perfectly ordinary, likable guy who resists any attempts by white characters to turn him into some kind of tragic, stoic figure. Nonetheless invoked with Hawk's knowledge of his nation's legends about the Black and White Lodges, which are, of course, completely accurate. The series' villain, BOB, is an ancient demonic spirit resembling a Native American man. However, since the character's existence is basically one big Throw It In!, much of this may be coincidental, and his Native-ness is never particularly emphasized.
  • Anything relating to the natives with whom Walker interacts on Walker, Texas Ranger. Or Walker himself, what with his Cherokee precognition and ability to communicate with and command wild animals by staring them down.
  • War of the Worlds (1988) featured an episode set on a Native American reservation, complete with shaman, who uses magical powers (assisted by what may be an alien artifact) to destroy an alien ship. He also manages, depending on your interpretation of the final scene, to play into a much older and more offensive stereotype about Native Americans as dishonest traders, as he gives Blackwood the alien crystal he had used in his "magic", but then later reveals to his son that he'd actually substituted a different crystal for no clear reason. (The scene is not entirely clear on this point; it may actually be that he had several identical crystals).
  • Discussed in What We Do in the Shadows (2019). Nadja asks the Five-Token Band werewolf pack if they're Indian, referencing The Twilight Saga where the wolf shifters were Quileute. They decry it as a racist portrayal. One of them is Native American, but his werewolf-ness is "not an ethnic thing". Another is Indian, in that one of his parents was from India.
  • Jamie "Great Wolf" Webster became one of these in the second season of WMAC Masters (during the first he just had a Native American gimmick), he began having visions of the future and doing ceremonies outside the arena, and was even able to foresee the Dragon Star being stolen in the final (even though in his vision the thief Tsunami saved it).
  • Toyed with in the Wonderfalls episode "Totem Mole." It is subverted through most of the episode, when Jaye tries to force the utterly unremarkable accountant grandson of a tribe's recently-deceased Medicine Woman into his grandmother's former role, though every "test" he undergoes signifies that Jaye herself is the rightful successor. In the end, however, the brilliant Native American trial lawyer (who serves as an antagonist through most of the episode) experiences a heat exhaustion-fueled vision of the Medicine Woman and becomes her tribe's new spiritual leader.
  • The X-Files:
    • "Shapes" has a monstrous beast attacking ranches, which turns out to be a Native American shapeshifter. As far as the non-literally magical Native Americans go, the closest the episode gets to this trope is Ish, but the rest of the reservation mostly just wants Mulder and Scully to leave them in peace.
    • In the three-parter "Anasazi"/"The Blessing Way"/"Paper Clip", Mulder gets brought back to life by a Native American ritual after getting gassed in a boxcar full of dead alien hybrids, and later on fights a reanimated South American Shaman. The plot thread with the alien boxcar is subverted a bit, however, when Skinner has the idea to work with some Navajo World War II vets who were in the Codetalker program to "store" an account of what happened. Making it not a case of Native American Magic saving the day, but language.
    • Played with (lampshaded?) in "The Rain King":
      Daryl Mootz: And I am 1/64th Cherokee, and I can summon up my ancestors to bring water to this thirsty land!

  • Sabaton: "A Ghost in the Trenches", about Francis Pegahmagabow who was a soldier from the indigenous First Nations of Canada and the most effective sniper of the first World War, invokes this trope, saying that Pegahmagabow called upon the power of spirits to aid him on the battlefield.
    In the battle, the gas had them pinned
    Pegahmagabow invoked the spirits of the wind
  • Venom's song "Manitou" invokes it heavily, especially the third stanza: "Mighty be the powers of the old medicine man... guardian of the elder spirits, summoning the storm..."

    Other Sites 
  • 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.

  • The Twilight Histories miniepisode "Lakota Thunder" takes place in a world where the Ghost Dance proves far more effective than it did in our world.
  • The Apache Tracker in Welcome to Night Vale puts on the act of being one of these, stereotypical feather headdress and all, despite being a white man "of apparently Slavic origin." Cecil never skips an opportunity to point out that this caricature is racist and offensive, even after the Apache Tracker mysteriously transforms into an actual Native American.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Subverted by 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Played with in the Anchôromé campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons. On the one hand, you have the Minnenewah, Indigenous American-like humanoids who were brought to Anchorome from another plane and still possess minor mystical labilities, such as increased longevity and a heightened affinity for the magical classes — they're even directly likened to the Spirit Folk of Kara-tur. On the other hand, they're surrounded by ordinary humans who also are based on Indigenous Americans, and they're just treated as regular people. Even their ability to learn magic is nothing that doesn't exist in other parts of the world.
  • Deadlands averts this to a large extent. Native Americans and those who have been welcomed into their tribes are the only characters eligible for Guardian Spirits or learning rituals and favors from the local spirits. But the Native shamans are only one of the many kinds of magic-users who can use various forms of magic typical to their cultural background. Priests can perform miracles because of their faith, voudou practitioners call upon loas, sorcerers use occult knowledge, hucksters (magical gamblers) engage spirits in games of wits and even mad scientists get their inspiration from the supernatural sources. It is explicitly stated that the form of the magical abilities is of the cultural, not ethnic character. An European greenhorn can master the Native magic should they follow the Native way of life and gain the favour of the relevant spirits.
  • Played with in Pathfinder. The Arcadians do not practice a unique magical tradition. They do, however, have a unique magical-technology for scavenging monster parts and making guns out of them. This magic has left Arcadia, and now is practiced by other peoples, but it is tagged Uncommon so you need GM permission to take it.
  • In the Ravenloft campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons, 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.)
  • 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. The circumstances around this are less pleasant than it sounds, as most of the Native American population were rounded up into prison camps after protesting their land being seized by the US government on behalf of the nascent Mega Corps. Their magical talent manifested a year later and provided them a much needed edge in escaping and in the brief war that followed, and resulted in the fracturing of the US and Canada, and the emergence of the Native American Nations as regional powers.
  • 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.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Necromunda has the Ratskins.
    • Mainline 40k also has the Native American-themed Space Marine chapter known as the Raven Guard. It can be a bit hard to tell by looking at them as a genetic mutation results in them having albinistic skin. It does give a striking look in combination with their inky tribal facepaint, though. There's also the Space Marine chapter known as the Rainbow Warriors. The name is inspired by what is usually claimed to be an Indian myth (usually identified as either Hopi or Cree), but was in fact invented wholesale by two Evangelical Christians in 1962, and was, if anything, a bald-faced attack at Indian belief systems. Later works, however, tend to portray them as resembling native South Americans instead.
  • 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 homeless, Amazons, Vikings, 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.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Played with in Assassin's 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.
  • Humba Wumba in Banjo-Tooie is a transformation-magic-using shamaness who lives in a magical teepee. In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & 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.
  • Body Harvest: In the America level Adam meets a shaman at a native reservation who provides him with a Vision Quest that helps him to uncover the aliens' plans.
  • In the survival horror title Camp Sunshine, there's a villainous example in Chu'mana, who was a nanny for the killer in his childhood; she's the head of the cult that caused him to be possessed and start his killing spree.
  • Though not magical per se, the Native Americans in Colonization are not bound by certain constraints for European settlers, for example:
    • Their military units Brave/Mounted Brave/Armed Brave/Native Dragoon can carry 50 units of goods each while only wagon trains and naval vessels can carry goods for Europeans.
    • Their settlements, when destroyed, yield Treasure Trains of various sizes and are a way to get quick money the unethical way.
    • Only natives can build settlements (even large Inca and Aztec cities) on mountains: Europeans cannot because mountain tiles produce no food.
    • Native settlements completely surrounded by tiles claimed by hostile European colonists and thus cut off from food, lumber, ore and other natural resources can still produce said natural resources with no problem and continue to have enough food to maintain, and if need be, grow their population. But this is more likely because The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.
    • Natives can teach some, but not all of the colonist specialties (only those at skill level 1 and 2) to free colonists and indentured servants in one turn (in contrast it takes 3 turns for skill level 1 and 5 turns for skill level 2 specialties to be taught by Europeans). The skills each native group teaches are limited to those for which each native group has proven historical evidence of practicing, namely Expert Fisherman, Expert Farmer, Seasoned Scout, Expert Luberjack, Expert Fur Trapper, Expert Ore Miner, Master Fur Trader, Expert Silver Miner, Master Cotton Planter, Master Tobacco Planter and Master Sugar Planter.
  • Crash Bandicoot: Papu Papu has demonstrated magical capabilities, summoning crates and evil copies of Crash and surrounding himself in a shield of fire in Crash Bash.
  • 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.
  • Disney's Pocahontas: Pocahontas helps animals in distress and gains their spirits/essences. Through this, she gains abilities to advance in the game (e.g., the moose's teaches running, the otter's the swim ability).
  • In The Elder Scrolls, as seen in Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion and Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC, the Noble Savage Skaal people of the frozen, inhospitable island of Solstheim. They have much in common culturally with various Native American and Inuit tribes, including their speech patterns. Their magic is of a Shamanic/Druidic nature as well. They live In Harmony with Nature, making sure to never waste by, for example, needlessly killing for sport or chopping down live trees for firewood.
  • Elvira: One shows up in the second game as the janitor for the studio. After making friends with him, you have to retrieve his medicine bag, tomahawk, and spear which have been stolen from him. Once doing so, be uses his tribe's magic to empower the weapons to destroy Cerberus in the final battle of the game.
  • Fate/Grand Order: During the America Chapter, Geronimo is summoned as a Servant assisting the player. He's summoned as a Caster-class Servant, with his skills focusing on his shaman heritage. A few characters comment on how strange it is that he is fighting for the restoration of the United States considering what happened to him and his people in life; Geronimo replies that the proper order of history must be restored, and he does not wish to dishonor the sacrifices made by his people, even if they lost in the end.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy VII
      • Aerith Gainsborough and her Cetra bretheren. Said heritage gives her an innate connection to the planet and makes her more inclined to use magic than normal humans. In addition, her people used to be wandering nomads seeking "the Promised Land".
      • Nanakinote 's people 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.
    • Implied to be the case with Blue Mages on Final Fantasy XIV. The main class NPC Martyn learned Blue Magic by studying the magic of the "Whalaqee" tribe in the "New World" continent. The clothing seen in a flashback image serves to back this up as well as the story about how New World tribes are experiencing mass illness and death due to the introduction of Eorzean viruses which Eorzeans have a natural resistance to but New Worlders do not.
    • The Elementalist crown in Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light resembles a Plains Indians war bonnet, and the crown's associated armor has the same aesthetic.
  • Chief Thunder from Killer Instinct, especially in the reboot. He wields a pair of tomahawks, is covered in warpaint, calls down lighting, and his Super Mode has him Flash Step by turning into a murder of crows. It's not his main focus however, as all the magical stuff is just to get him in range so he can really lay down the hurt with grapples. Plus frankly EVERY KI character is an awesomely-exaggerated stereotype anyway.
  • In the Swedish IOS/Android game Last Hope TD, you control a Native American tribe fighting zombies with bows, spears, axes and the occasional magical help from nature spirits. While the initial heroes of your tribe are an Indian princess and a brave, you can do an IAP to get a caucasian ultra-tech sniper and engineer. The more palatable part of this game (besides having Native Americans as the main heroes) is that your tribe are engineering geniuses with access to high tech and magic so while their first turrets are basically automated crossbows, you will fairly quickly be researching machine guns, cannons and golems for turrets.
  • The final boss of the second Lethal Enforcers game is a villainous example. He casts fireballs and summons skeletons to fight for him. Since the game was fairly realistic up to this point, this fight comes off as pretty jarring.
  • 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 20mm M61 Vulcan. The "Magical" aspect of this trope when it comes to Raven is more prominently featured in The Last Days of FOXHOUND.
    • Code Talker in The Phantom Pain is an interesting variation. While he is a Native American and occasionally discusses Native American beliefs and philosophies, he also has an extensive scientific background and his 'Magical' abilities are the result his own research into various parasites.
  • 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 his debut in the initial release of Mortal Kombat 3, he could run faster than the guy he just threw.
  • Nightmare Circus: The player character, Raven, is a Native American with Psychic Powers (called PSI in-game). After he defeats the boss of a certain section of the game, he absorbs an ability granted by him, which Raven can use in other stages.
  • The Mudokons from the Oddworld series are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture race of these.
  • 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 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.
  • In Prey (2006), 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.
  • The branch of the Wabanaki tribe in The Secret World is the PC's primary source of "good magic" on Solomon Island and are ultimately the only ones who can save it.
  • 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).
  • In Slipstream 5000, the driver known as "the Shaman" either is one, or acts the part for the sake of his brand. He talks about ancient "medicine" which helps him race.
  • 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.
  • Parodied by Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. In episode 2, "Strong Badia the Free", Homsar is given overtones of this, living on a reservation full of mysterious floating rocks and sounding a bit like John Redcorn when Strong Bad is finally able to decipher his language.
    Homsar: Why should my people risk open war for you and your considerable style?
  • 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.
  • The Turok games, outside of the 2008 reboot, were all about this sort of thing. Turok's 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 whoever takes on the mantle of Turok must seal away the portals to other worlds that pop up in "the Lost Lands" as part of their tribal duty.
  • 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.
  • Dusty Earth in the second Vigilante 8 game is a heroic example. A shaman and tribe leader in a '70s SUV with a magical eagle that can summon a tornado, whose quoted as saying "I will make right what's wrong".
  • 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.

  • It appears at first that The Dreamwalker Chronicles will play this trope straight but it quickly becomes apparent that while Kyle may be a dreamwalker it is not something he understands or has control of and as all human characters outside of a single quickly eaten poacher are Native Americans and no others outside Kyle's grandfather have a hint of the trope it is ultimately averted.
  • Lampshade Hanging in The X-Files parody comic Monster of the Week: the shaman who raises Mulder complains that "for generations, my people have been convenient plot devices". The Either/Or Title for the episode is "Crap Goes Down Part 2: Indians are Magic".
  • 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 occasionally 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.
  • 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 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!"
  • Wilde Life:
    • Downplayed with Blackwolf and his mother: Yes, they can turn into wolves at will, but they're never used to help the protagonist (they never even meet).
    • A Native American man named Lester who heals Oscar is implied to be Coyote. The Coyote.

    Web Original 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: Pony Twofeathers is a medicine man and Jason's friend who has taught him the ways of nature. He has a vision of Jamie having a "long day" on the day he is caught and almost killed by his parents.
  • Lampshaded, discussed, and double subverted in the Cracked short story "Dumb Things White People Secretly Suspect About Other Races", where the titular dumb white guy assumes all Native Americans can turn into animals.
  • Allison Pregler describes Adventure of Baile, Christmas Hero as relying on this, noting that it's a fiction that's mostly gone out of fashion.
    This came out in 2012, people! Did we time travel back to The Nineties when every movie thought Native Americans were like ghosts or genies?
  • In S 2 E 10 of The Cyanide and Happiness show, one of the school's staff is a very straight example of this trope. He's given a bit of a modern twist by being very knowledgeable about technology, but he's still incredibly Closer to Earth.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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"...
  • 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."
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: In the New York special, it's revealed that there's an entire set of Miraculouses themed around Native American mythology; more specifically, the Native American medicine wheel and zodiac, with a central Miraculous based on the Thunderbird. The one Miraculous from this set that's featured most prominently is rooted more in general Eagleland stereotypes (being based on an eagle and inhabited by the kwami of freedom).
  • Gray Owl in The New Adventures of Zorro (1997) 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. She also appears as Tainah in Zorro: The Chronicles, where she's teaching her knowledge to her granddaughter (Diego's sister) Ines.
  • 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.
  • South Park:
    • Parodied in the episode "Red Man's Greed", in which 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. He ends up curing SARS with the folk medicine of the Middle Class White Man: Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, Dayquil, and Sprite.
    • 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.
    • "Cherokee Hair Tampons", dealing with alternative medicine, has 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.
  • Hawk in Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic is literally this; bonus points because he has the stereotypical connection to nature.
  • The title character of Xavier: Renegade Angel is a parody of this character type. He seems to fit most of the traits associated with the trope at first (including mystical music playing when he speaks), but his "wisdom" is really just utter nonsense that only makes sense to him, and his attempts to help people always result in disaster.
  • X-Men: Evolution: Averted with Forge, whose powers are technopathic in nature and played straight with Dani Moonstar, whose powers are like those of a "dreamwalker". Ultimately defied, however, as their powers are not magical, but a mutation.
  • Young Justice (2010) includes Tye Longshadow, who is loosely based on the above-mentioned Apache Chief and his various expies. Here he can create a giant Hard Light projection of himself, but the power actually came from being abducted by aliens. We also meet Tye's grandfather, who is this trope Played for Laughs — he says a bunch of mystical stuff that sounds meaningless, but in retrospect pretty much describes what happens. Also, when he says something about Jaime having an inner struggle the Scarab declares that he "knows too much" and must be destroyed.
  • Played for Laughs in Yvon of the Yukon with Bill Tukyuk who thinks he is this, but in reality is a Kindhearted Seemingly Profound Fool who lacks any supernatural abilities, isn't even in very good physical shape, and constantly exasperates his much more grounded son with ludicrously stupid stories to "teach" him lessons. At the same time he's much more intelligent and spiritual than Yvon, so it's all relative.


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Alternative Title(s): Our Indians Are Different, Magical Native, Magical Aboriginal, Magical First Nation



Wisakedjak, also known as "Whiskey Jack", is an old Lakota Trickster that gives guidance to Shadow.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpiritAdvisor

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