Native American Culture/Totem animals


have you ever happened to hear that one shouldn't eat meat from his totem animal? I have heard that from a Lakota friend many years ago and I'm unable to check as she passed away quickly after that conversation. However I seem to remember in several cultures consuming meat from specific animals was considered to grant 'special powers' from that animal. I'm a bit confused what native americans actually practiced.

I've heard that also, from people who are members of clans whose guide animals they normally wouldn't be eating anyway. As far as the eating of an animal conferring special powers, most of the Native people I'm familiar with primarily in the Southwest, don't eat or hunt predators, especially bears, who are revered, but body parts, such as claws are considered powerful medicine. I'm just not that familiar with the details. You would do well to ask an Elder in whichever Nation you are connected with. If you are not Native, or are not fully initiated into the traditional religious practices, don't be surprised if they simply defer the question by changing the subject or turning away.  

Native American Culture

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Richard Sutton


As a direct reservation trader in all aspects of American Indian arts since 1985, I've answered questions regarding cultural property issues, origins of traditional crafts, materials and techniques, collecting, authenticity, symbols and, of course, repairs! We have operated a retail gallery since that time, bricks and mortar until 2007 and online since 1996. Our online operation closed in 2/2015, to allow me to finally write full-time. My writing site can be found at I'll be adding a book or two from our trader experiences under the pen name of W.T. Durand and the rest of my fiction is under my own name. We are not "New Age" practitioners of adopted American Indian religious ceremonies or combined philosophies. If you are seeking such knowledge for spiritual reasons, we will only provide answers that address factual information on these subjects. Unless one is raised in a traditional, American Indian family with language, culture and religious belief intact, we don't believe that simply applying the trappings or cultural property of a given traditional group will give a non-Indian (Native if you prefer)any insight other than the academic.


My primary focus is on Southwester American Indian Nations and their people, but I also have experience in Plains and Northeastern traditions, having engaged in active trade and retail since 1985 and study for most of my life. I am not claiming any expertise at all in the work, techniques, lifeways or crafts that are made by the Native People of Mexico. They are not the same, either linguistically or culturally but certainly their crafts deserve discussion and appraisal by those who are able to provide real information.

I was a guest on Fox Network "Lifestyles" program, during the 1990s, to discuss how to tell forgeries, and authenticating jewelry as Native American work. I have also written extensively for our website, and our Ebay Store.

UofO, 1970 active in the Authentic American Indian Arts business and direct Trader since 1985. Graphic Designer and published novelist.

©2017 All rights reserved.