Explore the rich worldview of Native North American tribes through their myths and legends. Tales originating from various tribes functioned in a number of important ways: they explained the story of creation, described the relationship of humans to the rest of the universe, and preserved the sacred history of the tribe. In addition, myths and storytelling helped Native Americans pass on knowledge related to hunting, fishing, farming, healing the sick, and dealing with conflict or disaster. This book also places their mythology in historical context, for example, connecting earth myths with the Native Americans' real-life, tragic struggle to preserve their lands. Topics include:
• the Great Mystery
• animal guides
• the four directions
Table of Contents
What are Myths? 4
What are myths and how and why did the early Native Americans tell them? How did myths affect their traditions and cultures?
Ancient North America 6
The first peoples to arrive in North America. How they spread through the continent and set up several different nations, each with its own mythology.
Religion and Gods 10
The importance of spirits, visions, and quests in addition to gods. Myths about the creation of the world, living a long life, death, and mortality.
The Natural World 16
Myths about animals and plants, the climate, natural disasters, and wonders. How each nation and tribe had similar myths.
Daily Life 24
Myths about birthrights, family life, respect for elders, marriage, and the home. The social structure of nations, tribes, and clans.
Trade and Warfare 36
Myths about courage, duty, and loyalty to one's tribe. The interaction between Native Americans and European settlers.
Native American Legacy 40
How Native American culture, myths, and beliefs remain alive today in arts and crafts, movies, literature, design, and clothes.
Time Chart 45
Learning More 47