The Papago Indians of the American Southwest say butterflies were created to gladden the hearts of children and chase away thoughts of aging and death. How the Butterflies Came to Be is one of twenty-four Native American tales included in Native American Animal Stories. The stories, coming from Mohawk, Hopi, Yaqui, Haida and other cultures, demonstrate the power of animals in Native American traditions.
Parents, teachers and children will delight in lovingly told stories about "our relations, the animals." The stories come to life through magical illustrations by Mohawk artists John Kahionhes Fadden and David Fadden.
"The stories in this book present some of the basic perspectives that Native North American parents, aunts and uncles use to teach the young. They are phrased in terms that modern youngsters can understand and appreciate ... They enable us to understand that while birds and animals appear to be similar in thought processes to humans, that is simply the way we represent them in our stories. But other creatures do have thought processes, emotions, personal relationships...We must carefully ccord these other creatures the respect that they deserve and the right to live without unnecessary harm. Wanton killings of different animals by some hunters and sportsmen are completely outside the traditional way that native people have treated other species, and if these stories can help develop in young people a strong sense of the wonder of other forms of life, this sharing of Native North American knowledge will certainly have been worth the effort." —excerpt from the forward by Vine Deloria, Jr.
These stories first appeared in Keepers of the Animals: Native American Stories and Wildlife Activities for Children by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac