Spanning three centuries, this collection traces the historical evolution of legends, folktales, and traditions of four major native American groups from their earliest encounters with European settlers to the present. The book is based on some 240 folklore texts gathered from early colonial writings, newspapers, magazines, diaries, local histories, anthropology and folklore publications, a variety of unpublished manuscript sources, and field research with living Indians.
"An impressive blend of good anthropology and sound historiographical scholarship . . . What emerges is the clearest, and most thoughtful, view into the cognitive world of New England's native people available to nonspecialists." —New England Quarterly
The impact of history upon the folklore of three southern New England tribes is ably demonstrated in this comprehensive collection of folklore narratives of the Mohegan, Narragansett, and Wampanoag Indians. The legends range from the earliest known records to those collected by the author in the 1980s. Simmons arranges the narratives chronologically within given subjects, which allows him to show how folklore reflects the dramatic changes in the lives of these groups. An index of folklore motifs is included. Recommended for academic libraries and folklore collections. Mary B. Davis, Museum of the American Indian Lib., Bronx, New York
WILLIAM S. SIMMONS is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. His other books include Cautantowwit's House (1970), Eyes of the Night: Witchcraft Among a Senegalese People (1971), and Old Light on Separate Ways: The Narragansett Diary of Joseph Fish (1982).