Hopi kachina of Laqán, the squirrel spirit, c. 1950; in the National Museum of the —Courtesy of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, New York City
Ancestral being of the Pueblo Indians. As each tribe has its own kachinas, there are more than 500 of these spirit-beings. They are believed to reside with a tribe for half of each year and can be seen by the community if its men properly perform a ritual while wearing kachina regalia. The being depicted through the regalia is thought to be actually present with the performer, temporarily transforming him. Kachinas are also represented by small wooden dolls that are carved and decorated by the men of the tribe and used to teach children the identities of each kachina and its associated symbolism.