Folktales of the American Indians

As in many cultures, tricksters, lost loves, brave warriors, and pourquoi or "why?" stories make up the fabric of Native American storytelling traditions. To retell these stories for an audience today connects these old ways to the modern world so that their beauty and wisdom need not be forgotten. Click on the regional listing at the bottom of the book's description to get more story choices that fall within the same geographic setting (Arctic, Woodlands, Northwest Coast, Plains, or Southwest).

Raven's Light: A Myth From the People of the Northwest Coast

By Susan Hand Shetterly

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Explains how Raven made the earth, animals, moon, and sun.

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Quail Song: A Pueblo Indian Tale

By Valerie Scho Carey

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Quail grows tired of trying to teach hungry Coyote her beautiful song, so she plays a trick on him.

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Paper Animal Masks From Northwest Tribal Tales

By Nancy Lyn Rudolph

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Masks that are simple and fast to make with materials usually found around the house. Could be used for school or scout projects.

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Monster Birds: A Navajo Folktale

By Vee Browne

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Twelve-year-old twins use their weapons, lightning arrows and magic feathers, to defend their village from the Monster Birds.

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Mole's Hill: A Woodland Tale

By Lois Ehlert

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When Fox tells Mole she must move out of her tunnel to make way for a new path, Mole finds an ingenious way to save her home.

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Magic Words: Poems

By Edward Field (editor)

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A collection of poems based on songs and stories gathered by Knud Rasmussen on the Fifth Thule Expedition, which recorded Inuit legends about the universe and its creation.

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Ma'ii and Cousin Horned Toad: A Traditional Navajo Story

By Shonto Begay

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A lazy, conniving coyote takes advantage of all his animal cousins until a horned toad teaches him a lesson he never forgets.

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Love Flute

By Paul Goble

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A gift to a shy young man from the birds and animals helps him to express his love to a beautiful girl.

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Iktomi Loses His Eyes: A Plains Indian Story

By Paul Goble

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Iktomi the trickster has trouble after losing his eyes (temporarily!) when he greedily misuses a magical trick.

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Iktomi and the Ducks: A Plains Indian Story

By Paul Goble

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After outwitting some ducks, Iktomi, the Indian trickster, is outwitted by Coyote.

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