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The Indian Maiden is the apple of both the Native and White man's eye, a slender young woman who can travel well with her father/brothers on journeys as well as aid her mother and children in their tents as they prepare a meal for the hunters. She is also the calming force behind her father or chieftain, helping him through the difficult times of woe in an age that threatens their way of life. She will often have a Meaningful Name such as Little Rose or Quiet One that relates to her personality.

More often than not, she will fall in love accidentally with the White Man who likes her as well and wants to marry her. Often this can be seen as a litmus test to see whether the white man is worthy of being part of their tribe.

She might also be The Chief's Daughter. Compare Magical Negro, Noble Savage, Nubile Savage, Asian Gal with White Guy.

Examples of Indian Maiden include:

Anime

Advertising

  • Land O'Lakes' advertising mascot.

Comic Books

  • Chinook from Buddy Longway
  • Crie-dans-le-Vent from Les Pionniers du Nouveau Monde. The series gets a fair bit of Fan Service from that character, as she is often depicted topless.
  • The titular character of Crisse's Luuna. She typically barely wears anything except for flimsy Braids, Beads, and Buckskins, but when her Super-Powered Evil Side kicks in, she loses even that much, opting for slapping on black war paint all over her body.

Film

  • Stands With a Fist in Dances with Wolves. She's a white woman who was captured as a girl and raised by the tribe.
  • On Deadly Ground has one.
  • White Fang 2 (yet another improbable sequel) has one of these to help our protagonist see things the Inuit way.
  • Black Robe.
  • Silver Fox in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
  • Chon Wang's wife in Shanghai Noon. Notable in that her love interest was Chinese, not white (at least until the ending).
  • The guide Shaquinna in Almost Heroes.
  • Sacagawea from Night at the Museum and its sequel.

Literature

  • Nscho-tschi in the adventure novel Winnetou(1893) by the German writer Karl May.
    • For the ones not familiar with the books, "Nscho-tschi" means "Beautiful (or Fair) Day", and is described both by the narration and the characters (including the enemies) as being the most beautiful daughter of all the Apache tribes, and even of all the Amerindian tribes. Her legendary beauty is surpassed only by her equally well-known, tragic (apparently unrequited) love for Old Shatterhand, which had led to her untimely death.
      • For his part, Old Shatterhand seemed to have feelings of great affection and friendship for her, and treats her with great respect. He does have a tendency to remark upon the great similarities between her and her brother Winnetou, both in looks and in character. And since he fell for her brother at first sight...
      • It's implied that he did begin to fall for her in the romantic sense as well, during their trip to the East. She is described as practically reading his thoughts by that point, and he admits that his gratitude and admiration for her were reaching almost unbearable levels.
        • Not to mention how, much earlier, she was shown to be able to carry a very serious and heavy conversation with Old Shatterhand on the themes of life and death, religion, science, the cultural differences between the whites and the Indians, and what each culture expects from a woman. Despite her strong feelings of love for him, she challenges and even defies him, calls him naive, and pretty much puts him in his place. At the end of her impassioned speech, he is left staring at her in awe, and feels that he has no right to tell her what she can or can't do. He also notices that she's even more beautiful when she's angry, "like a goddess of revenge".
    • Kah-o-oto ("Black Hair") of the neighboring (and enemy) Kiowa tribe is another good example, and her resemblance to Nscho-tschi is noticed repeatedly by Old Shatterhand. They meet when he falls prisoner to the Kiowas, in a parallel to his first meeting with Nscho-tschi (where he was a prisoner of the Apaches). There is even a tentative suggestion of arranged marriage, in order to save his life, but Old Shatterhand refuses. She gracefully accepts his rejection, and still helps him escape. In a sequel set decades later, she is shown as being much more action-orientated, very lonely, and apparently still very much in love with Old Shatterhand. He is shown to be aware of this as well, and offers to be her "brother". Oh, and she becomes good friends with his wife.
    • Ribanna, the Rose of the Assiniboins, is the only woman Winnetou has ever loved. This happened when he was almost still a child, so it's no surprise that she chose another husband -- Winnetou's best friend at that time, the white hunter Old Firehand. Winnetou accepts her choice, gives Old Firehand a very stoic version of the If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... speech, returns later to avenge her death, then looks after her child before and after she dies. And swears off women forever.
    • Kolma-Puschi ("Black Eyes"), initially thought to be a lonely warrior (or possibly even a sort of spirit) wandering The Plains, turns out to be Tahua ("The Sun"), an Indian maiden of great beauty, educated in the East and married to a white man named Bender, with whom she has two sons - later on, these will be the famed white hunter Old Surehand and Apanatschka, chieftain of a Comanche tribe. Her younger sister Tocbela ("The Sky") was also very beautiful, and in both cases their beauty brought them many, many misfortunes.
  • Rebecca Caldwell from the So Bad It's Good, sex and blood drenched White Squaw series is a rare example of one of these characters as a protagonist.
  • Magawisca of Hope Leslie. Not only does she get to save the life of Everell a la Pocahontas and John Smith (though nothing ever indicated that she falls for him -- if anything, he might have developed feelings for her), but she has a rather...close relationship with the titular character, who's helping to teach her that despite the brutal slaughter of her family and kidnapping of her sister-to-be raised among the Pequods, the ways of the Noble Savage are not wrong and in fact have much wisdom. This may be why she gets to be a heroine in her own right.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in The Difference Engine when a hack writer is adapting the North American adventures of the Adventure Archaeologist protagonist, and portrays the Native American girl he slept with as a dusky young Indian maiden when she was a middle-aged widow missing two teeth and as lean as a wolf.

Literature

  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Michael O'Halloran, Douglas specifically points out that the woman who made the gorgeous basket does not fit the type: "I wish I might truthfully report an artist's Indian of the Minnehaha type"

Western Animation

  • Pocahontas: The title character of the Disney movie.
    • The historical figure somewhat fit this trope in Real Life, albeit not as well as in the Disney movie.
    • In fact the historical Pocahantas apparently went over to the English lock-stock-and-barrel turning Christian, marrying an Englishman (NOT John Smith) and wowing the Court of King James as 'The Lady Rebecca'. In fact she was so royal that James wondered if her husband, John Rolf, shouldn't be punished for presuming to marry a princess.
  • Tigerlily in Disney's Peter Pan.
  • Cholena in the third An American Tail movie.
  • Sgt. Hatred's ex-wife, Princess Tinyfeet.
  • Little Strongheart in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is this in spades, being just a calf but faster and just as strong as any of the other buffalo in her tribe.
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