Turkey Clan

Encyclopedia Article


In Native American social structures, a clan is an interrelated social group whose connections derive from parentage as well as kinship. Clan configurations develop and are expressed uniquely in different indigenous groups, and each tribe is comprised of numerous various clans. Clan names often originate in the natural environment of the tribe’s homeland, and refer to place names, fauna and flora, or significant natural phenomena.

The Turkey Clan is probably named after the bird that is commonly found across Southwestern parts of the U.S. The Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and other pueblo peoples all have a clan by that name as part of their greater system of familial and kinship structures.

Photo Credit: 

"Untitled (turkey or grouse, offset lithograph by Jose Encarnacion Pena," SILD-62; Gift of William and Luanna Johnson and the IBM Corporation, 1993; Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM.

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