Our 10 Favorite Native American Fictional Characters

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As long as there has been American history, there has been Native American history (since, you know, that’s how history works). Everybody learns about Native Americans in elementary school and probably everybody knows the names of a few of the tribes that originated in their area. Here in southeast Wisconsin, that includes the Potawatomi and Winnebago, among others.

 

Today the legends of Native American culture live on through fiction, and as with any genre, there are costumes to go along with it. BuyCostumes.com’s selection of Native American costumes has everything down to the Indian headdresses. If you need some more inspiration for your costume, then check out this list of our 10 favorite Native American characters.

 

1. Tonto

 

Jay Silverheels as Tonto in the 1949-1957 TV series

 

Tonto is the Native American partner of The Lone Ranger, first appearing in the 11th episode of the original 1930s radio program. The character was originally meant to be a member of the Potawatomi Nation, despite the tribe not being from the West, because it was one of the few tribes that radio station owner George Trendle was familiar with. “Tonto” is supposed to mean “the wild one” in Tonto’s language, but it coincidentally means “clueless one” in Spanish. Therefore, Tonto is known as “Toro” in foreign translations, which is Spanish for “bull.”

TV and Movie Character Costumes

 

2 and 3. Michelle Chang and Julia Chang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Tekken series, Michelle is a Native American fighter from Arizona, and she kicks ass. Her fighting style of blended kenpo and xingyiquan reflects her half-Chinese heritage and has made her a top-tier. Her adopted daughter, Julia, was raised with Michelle’s tribe since infancy, but she is technically not Native American herself. She has, however appeared in more games, and, like Michelle, is a fan-favorite. Her alter-ego, Jaycee, is a high-flying luchadora that, as you can see in Tekken Tag Tournament 2’s arcade opening movie (skip to 1:29 in the clip below), matches up just fine with bigger brawlers.

 

 

4. Turok

The original Turok

Joseph Turok, from the 2008 Turok game

 

 

Turok was originally a part of Four Color Comics in 1954, but most people today know the character as the dinosaur-slaying Native American warrior from the Turok video game series, which launched in 1997 with Turok: Dinosaur Hunter on the Nintendo 64. The Turok from the original comics is not the same as the Turoks from the video games, but each installment in the franchise is a spiritual successor to the last.

Video Game Costumes

 

5. Pocahontas

The last time we mentioned the Disney princesses on this blog it was in a post about alternative artwork (Jeffrey Thomas’ Twisted Pocahontas is our favorite Pocahontas of the bunch). The Pocahontas from the Disney movie is a fictionalized version of the real Pocahontas, but key similarities include the fact that she was really the daughter of the chief a tribe near the Jamestown settlement, and she really did save the life of John Smith. The man she married, though, was a farmer named John Rolfe, in what was the first interracial marriage in recorded American history.

Pocahontas Costume

 

6. Katar Hol (Hawkman)

In the DC Comics universe there have been five Hawkmans (Hawkmen?) to date, but the superhero’s current identity is Katar Hol. Katar is half Thanagarian alien and half human, his mother being a Cherokee shaman. He came to Earth in order to find the alien supervillain Byth, where he and his wife, Shayera Thal, became known as Hawkman and Hawkwoman. Katar’s name is also a reference to the Golden Age Hawkman, archaeologist Carter Hall.

DC Comics Costumes

 

7. Echo

Born Maya Lopez and sometimes known as Ronin, Echo is a Marvel Comics superheroine of Native American descent who first appeared in Daredevil Vol. 2 #9. She becomes a love interest of Matt Murdock, possibly catalyzed in part thanks to their disabilities – he is blind, she is deaf. Her adoptive father, the villain Kingpin, raised her after he had killed her father who was also his partner. Kingpin had always told Echo that Daredevil had killed her father. Echo sought revenge until she realized that Matt and Daredevil were the same person, at which point she breaks free of Kingpin’s lies and shoots him.

Female Superhero Costumes

 

8. Forge

Forge is a member of the X-Men, debuting in 1984. As a Cheyenne, he was raised in his early life to be a tribal medicine man, but his mutant power of superhuman intellect and intuition led him down the path of science and technology instead. After joining the military he used his mysticism-related abilities to try and save his comrades, but his actions ended up releasing the demon Adversary. Since then Forge has tried to rely exclusively on his mechanical abilities.

X-Men Costumes

9. Puma

Thomas Fireheart, better known as Puma, was originally a villain in the Spider-Man comics, but eventually grew respect for Spider-Man and became his ally. His Native American tribe, speculated but never confirmed to be the Kisani of New Mexico, used mystic rituals to create the ultimate warrior. Thomas is final product of this line of ancestry, the protector of his tribe.

Spider-Man Costumes

 

10. Dani Moonstar (Psyche, Mirage)

Dani is a mutant with various magical and energy-manipulative powers. As a child, she was able to psychically communicate with animals, and her skills eventually developed to the point of being able to visually manifest others’ thoughts and fears. Like her fellow X-Men Forge, she is a member of the Cheyenne Nation. She also temporarily became a Valkyrie, which lent her supernatural strength.

Marvel Comics Costumes

 

BONUS: TVTropes’ primer on Native American tribes, culture, and history

 

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