Central to the traditional religion of the Hopi people of the Northern Arizona are Kachinas. A Kachina (Katsina) is a supernatural being relied upon to provide rain, fertility, health, and well-being. While kachinas play a role in many of the Pueblo societies, the Hopi are most noted and prolific today in kachina doll carving.
The dolls were and are made by Hopi uncles and fathers for their daughters and nieces so they would learn to recognize the dancers' masks during ceremonies, and the lore behind them. Kachina dolls are carved from cottonwood root and have long been used to instruct Hopi children in the ways of the traditional religious cycles, and to help them learn to identify the hundreds of different beings.