Native Americans were like most cultures, and used clowns and fools to make serious points through their absurd behavior. Koshare (a general term for clowns) were sacred fools who helped maintain fertility, rain, good health, and crops. Their antics also taught proper behavior, typically through their bad example. For instance, the Lakota Nation’s heyoka was a sacred fool who did everything backward.
During feasts and celebrations in New Mexico, painted Koshare would frighten and amuse their audiences with wild antics, culminating in a climb up a chifonete pole which had prizes like a slaughtered sheep, fruits, and bread at the top.