Introducing American Indian Myths and Legends
This year’s project is going to be not about European stories as it has the past several years. This year I’m doing Native American stories. I wanted to move away from Europe for a bit, at least a year. I wanted to explore stories told by people other than people of European descent. I also wanted to learn a bit about American history and my own history.
I might have mentioned before that your dear old Ashe is not all the way white. I am part Cherokee, Creek, Sioux, and who knows what else. My family has been in the United States since before the United States was a thing. Back when there were colonies and explorer and such, my family was here. We’ve mixed around a bit with the natives.
The book I picked to read stories from is a Pantheon collection. They’re usually really good collections of stories. The two authors who collected and edited these stories are named Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz. Just think of them as the Grimms brothers for Native American stories. Richard and Alfonso didn’t write any of these stories, but they did take them and make them readable. Stories can vary in nature and sometimes it takes someone with a bit of pizzazz and logic to present a story in a manner that makes sense and is entertaining.
Some of these stories have been written down for years, while some of these stories Richard and Alfonso captured for probably the first time on paper.
These stories are told for various reasons, many of them deal with why things are the way they are. How and why these stories are told vary from tribe to tribe. Maybe in one tribe an old man tells the stories, maybe in another an old woman. Maybe stories are painted on buffalo skin or maybe they’re sewn into outfits. Maybe the story is painted on a cave wall or carved into a rock. Maybe the story is only told on special occasions by someone who must pass muster by popular opinion.
As always, there will be a new category on the site for the analyses of stories to live at.