Dictionary of Native American Mythology

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Dictionary of Native American Mythology includes over 1,000 colorful, sometimes earthy, and always intriguing entries. Using the carefully chosen cross references, readers can quickly access the meanings of hundreds of elements of lore—from names, phrases, and symbols to images, motifs, and themes.

Ten territory maps, which pinpoint exact locations of the tribes mentioned in the text, and a tribal index enhance this volume's usefulness. The bibliography is the most extensive ever compiled on the subject. A delight to the casual browser, and indispensable for anyone interested in the study of Native American cultures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A comprehensive bibliography and index by tribe complete this excellent reference work."


Library Journal

"An important new work … Recommended for all Native American, religion, and folklore collections."



Library Journal
This dictionary entices readers to explore the complex fabric of North American Indian tales and ritual. While numerous other references treat Native American mythology, none offers the coverage found in this volume. Works such as Yves Bonnefoy's Mythologies (Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1991) and the New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (Paul Hamlyn, 1968) focus primarily on classical, European, and Asian myths, with minimal coverage of Native American cultures. This new dictionary is well researched, drawing from scholarly sources such as the Journal of American Folklore and the American Anthropologist. Entries appear as either descriptive terms or in the anglicized form of Native American words, followed by tribal and/or cultural identifiers. Each entry includes generous cross references and bibliographic citations. An excellent tribal index refers readers to both main entries and to the work's extensive bibliography, which invites readers to pursue the research further in scholarly journals and monographs. This dictionary should be purchased by most libraries as a complement to the Handbook of North American Indians (Smithsonian, 1978+) and Arlene and Paulette Hirschfelder's The Encyclopedia of Native American Religions ( LJ 7/92).-- Randy J. Olsen, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Over 1,300 entries are included in this valuable resource. Terms, concepts, stories, and symbols from more than 100 different Native American cultures are described and illustrated. Maps are useful for locating various peoples, and a tribal index refers readers to entries and to the extensive bibliography. Commonalities, such as the trickster motif, are discussed under English entry titles; other entries are under titles in specific Native American languages. An excellent cross-reference system makes this approach accessible to students. Rituals currently practiced and stories are described in the present tense in order to place ``the reader more directly into the action of the story.'' If a ritual is no longer practiced, the past tense is used. This work updates and supplements North American Indian Mythology Bedrick, 1985, which has more photographs and is more colorful, but is not as thorough, and The Portable North American Indian Reader Viking, 1977, which contains poetry and oratory as well as mythology. An important resource, Gill's book will be useful for casual browsers and advanced students.-Margaret Tice, Brooklyn Public Library
A dictionary of Native American mythology that distills Native American oral tradition gathered from over a century of ethnographic work. An insightful and entertaining reference. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874366211
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1992
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 1,047,976
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sam D. Gill is Professor in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the author of Native American Religious Action, Native American Traditions, and Native American Religions. Irene F. Sullivan is a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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