The Indians were made out of fiberglass from a mold. Indian Joe was originally supposed to look like a carved Cigar Store Indian from the Victorian era. The Frontierland carved Indian Chief has a brown cape, while the Main Street Indian Chief has a teal green cape. Because of the natural wear and tear of fiberglass both chiefs are usually replaced every 5-7 years.
Cigar Store Indians are a form of American Folk Art dating back to the 1800s. They were commonly placed on the walk in front of tobacconist shops to direct illiterate customers to the shop. Since there were so many immigrants who couldn't read English, it was common to use visual trade signs such as a carving instead of written signs to bridge the language barrier.
*Note the Elvis pumpkin on the 20th Century Music Company sign behind Joe.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".