The wisdom from these stories can become a
companion on your own spiritual journey.
Native American stories of the sacredare intended for more than entertainment: they are teaching tales containing elegantly simple illustrations of time-honored truths. From tales of Creation to “Why?” stories that help explain the natural world around us, these stories highlight the sacredness of all life and affirm that we are each an integral part of all that is holy.
Drawn from tribes across North America, these are careful retellings of traditional stories such as Son of Light’s quest to win back his captured wife from the monstrous Man-Eagle; humble Muskrat’s noble self-sacrifice to establish solid land so other beings might live; Water Spider’s creative solution for retrieving fire for all the animals; and White Buffalo Calf Woman’s profound gift of the sacred pipe to the people. Each of the compelling stories in this collection illustrates principles that can guide you on your own spiritual quest.
Now you can experience the wisdom of these teaching tales even if you have no previous knowledge of Native American traditions. SkyLight Illuminations provides insightful yet unobtrusive commentary that explains the cultural and spiritual significance of the seemingly mundane objects found in these stories—tobacco, gambling, even the exploits of mischievous tricksters such as Coyote and Weasel—while gracefully drawing comparisons to Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions, among others. Whatever your spiritual heritage, these Native American stories of the sacred are sure to delight and inspire you with the sacredness of all Creation, and remind you that the earth does not belong to us—we belong to the earth.
About the Author
Evan T. Pritchard, who is of Mi'kmaq and Celtic descent, is the director of the Center for Algonquin Culture, based in Woodstock, New York, and is professor of Native American studies and philosophy at Marist College. A musician and storyteller, he lectures frequently around the U.S. and Canada, and is the author of Native New Yorkers and No Word for Time.
Table of Contents
1. Creation Stories
The Mud Diver Story: Munsee
The Making of the World: Huron
2. The Wager for the World
The Chickadee Story: Mi'kmaq
The Adoption of the Human Race: Natchez
Co-No, the World’s Greatest Gambler: Winnebago
3. The Origins of Fire
The First Fire: Cherokee
Fire-Stealing Fox: Jicarilla-Apache
4. The Sacred Pipe
White Buffalo Calf Woman: Lakota
5. "Why?" Stories
How Deer Got His Horns: Cherokee
Why Deer’s Teeth Are Blunt: Cherokee
Why the Blackfeet Never Kill Mice: Blackfeet/Ojibway
6. The Sacred Hero
Son of Light Defeats the Monster: Hopi
Agulabemu, the Great Bullfrog: Mi’kmaq
7. The Return of the Sun
Chipmunk Asks for the Light: Seneca
Little Brother Gets Mad at the Sun: Winnebago
8. Coyotes and Other Tricksters
Deer and Blue Jay: Klamath
Coyote and Wren: Klamath
Coyote and the Salmon: Klamath
9. Nature Spirits, Landkeepers, and Tribal Guardians
The Meesang, or Water Babies: Washo
The Great Bird Ong: Washo
10. The Spiritual Journey
The Stone Canoe: Ojibway/Anishinabi