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The Mythology of North America

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195146233
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/1/1902
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Bierhorst is the author, editor, or translator of more than thirty books on Native American lore—eight of which have been named Notable Books by the American Library Association.

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Table of Contents

A Note on Pronunciation
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Northwest Coast
1 The Hungry Heroes 25
2 Clans, Crests, and Ceremonies 38
3 Family Ties 47
Pt. 2 Far North
4 Storytelling in the Arctic 57
5 Athapascan Variations 65
Pt. 3 Southwest
6 The Emergence 77
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
Pt. 5 Coast-Plateau
11 Remaking the World 133
12 Making the World As It Is 141
Pt. 6 Plains
13 Father Creators and Boy Heroes 153
14 Earth and Sky 165
15 Myths for the Future 172
Pt. 7 East
16 Lost Worlds of the Southeast 185
17 The Northeast: Turtle Island 194
18 The Northeast: Gluskap's Country 205
Pt. 8 Midwest
19 The Hare Cycle 213
20 Lore of the Kin 225
Afterword 234
Notes on Sources 241
Index 263
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