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The growing economic and political influence of Native American tribes has brought religious issues, once little noted, increasingly to the fore. Timeless in their basic structures, the continent's principal myths are now emerging as sacred histories that have contemporary significance.
In this wide-ranging volume, John Bierhorst carefully delineates eleven mythological regions—from the Arctic to the Southwest and from California to the East Coast—presenting the gods, heroes, and primary myths of each area. First published in 1985, this indispensable guide has been updated to reflect the latest scholarship in Native studies. In a new Afterword, Bierhorst describes the recent impact of ancient myths in the arena of American Indian affairs and shows how Native Americans have successfully used mythology as oral evidence to reclaim land rights and to repatriate grave goods. Citing specific cases, he shows how new legislation and changing attitudes "have provided a basis for bringing myth to the negotiating table and into the courtroom."
Detailed maps show tribal locations and the distribution of key stories. Indian artworks illustrate the texts and samples of differing narrative styles add enrichment, as some of the world's purest and most powerful myths are made more accessible—and more meaningful—than ever before.
Describes the background of the myths of the Indian cultures of the North American continent, some of which have the same themes as myths of other world cultures.
|A Note on Pronunciation|
|Pt. 1||Northwest Coast|
|1||The Hungry Heroes||25|
|2||Clans, Crests, and Ceremonies||38|
|Pt. 2||Far North|
|4||Storytelling in the Arctic||57|
|7||Heroes and Their Grandmothers||93|
|8||The Dying God||100|
|Pt. 4||West Central|
|9||Creators of California||113|
|10||Great Basin Heroes and Heroines||122|
|11||Remaking the World||133|
|12||Making the World As It Is||141|
|13||Father Creators and Boy Heroes||153|
|14||Earth and Sky||165|
|15||Myths for the Future||172|
|16||Lost Worlds of the Southeast||185|
|17||The Northeast: Turtle Island||194|
|18||The Northeast: Gluskap's Country||205|
|19||The Hare Cycle||213|
|20||Lore of the Kin||225|
|Notes on Sources||241|