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Books - Native Americans - American Indians - Ages 4-8
Books - Native Americans - American Indians - Ages 9-12
Books - Native Americans - American Indians - Reference
Video on Demand - Native Americans - American Indians
Toys and Games - Native Americans - American Indians
Music - Native American - American Indian
Jewelry and Gifts - Native American - American Indian
Online links - Native Americans and American Indians
- Searching Out Stories - Native Americans/Indians
~Advice/References - Storytellers, Teachers, Librarians


Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience and to save you research time.

Baby-Preschool; Ages 4-8 Books - Native Americans and American Indians

Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale (Picture Puffin) by Gerald McDermott. (1977 - Ages 4-8)
An expression of the universal myth of the hero-quest, this beautiful story also portrays the Indian reverence for the source of life: the Solar Fire. Vibrant full-color illustrations capture the boldness and color of Pueblo art. A Caldecott Medal Book.

Between Earth & Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places by Joseph Bruchac with Thomas Locker (illus). (1999 - Ages 4-8)
The silent stories of our ancient land and its native peoples are given voice in reverential prose poems and radiant paintings.

Girl Who Loved Wild Horses (The) (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover)) by Paul Goble. (2001 - Ages 4-8)
The story of a young woman who follows her heart, and the family that respects and accepts her uniqueness. Considering how difficult it is for some communities to allow friendships to grow between people of different cultures, this village's support for the girl's companions of choice is admirable. This girl has a deep, almost sacred connection to her equine friends.

How the Stars Fell into the Sky: A Navajo Legend (Sandpiper Houghton Mifflin Books) by Jerrie Oughton with Lisa Desimini (illus). (1996 - Ages 4-8)
This retelling of a Navajo folktale explains how First Woman tried to write the laws of the land using stars in the sky, only to be thwarted by the trickster Coyote.

Knots on a Counting Rope (Reading Rainbow Book) by John Archambault with Ted Rand (contributor) and Bill Martin Jr. (author). (1997 - Ages 4-8)
In this poignant story, the counting rope is a metaphor for the passage of time and for a boy’s emerging confidence in facing his blindness.

Legend of the Bluebonnet (The) by Tomie dePaola. (1996 - Ages 4-8)
This favorite legend, based on Comanche lore, tells the story of how the bluebonnet, the state flower of Texas, came to be. A "Reading Rainbow" Review Title. An American Bookseller Pick of the List Book. A Booklist Children's Editors' Choice. A NCSS Notable Children's Trade Book.

More Than Moccasins: A Kid's Activity Guide to Traditional North American Indian Life (A Kid's Guide series) by Laurie Carlson. (1994 - Ages 4-8)
Kids will discover traditions and skills from the people who first settled this continent, including gardening, making useful pottery, and communicating through Navajo codes.

Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest by Gerald McDermott. (2001 - Ages 4-8)
Raven, the trickster, wants to give people the gift of light. But can he find out where Sky Chief keeps it? And if he does, will he be able to escape without being discovered? His dream seems impossible, but if anyone can find a way to bring light to the world, wise and clever Raven can!

Rough-Face Girl (The) by Rafe Martin. (1998 - Ages 4-8)
The youngest of three sisters is forced by the other two to sit by the fire and feed the flames, which results in the burning and scarring of her hair and skin. Desirous of marriage to an Invisible Being who lives in a huge wigwam across the village, these cruel siblings must prove to his sister that they have seen him, but they fail. The Rough-Face Girl, however, sees the Invisible Being everywhere and can answer his sister's questions correctly.

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back by Joseph Bruchac. (1997 - Ages 4-8)
The 13 scales on Turtle's shell stand for the 13 cycles of the moon, each with its own name and a story that relates to the changing seasons. Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London collaborate to reveal the beauty of the natural world around us, while Thomas Locker's illustrations honor both Native American legends and the varied American landscape. The cadence is that of an adult explaining things to a child.

Very First Americans (The) (Reading Railroad) by Cara Ashrose. (1993 - Ages 4-8)
From the Makah who set out in canoes to hunt whales to the Comanche who chased buffalo on horseback . . . here is a fascinating look at how the first Americans lived. Beautiful watercolor paintings accurately depict clothing, dwellings, art, tools, and other Native American artifacts.

Year of Miss Agnes (The) (Aladdin Historical Fiction) by Kirkpatrick Hill. (2002 - Ages 4-8)
A moving novel about Athabascan life. But instead of a wilderness survival tale, this story is an uplifting portrait of a dedicated teacher, set mostly in a cozy village classroom in 1948. Fred, a ten-year-old girl, describes the year Miss Agnes takes over the one-room school. Unlike the school's other teachers, none of whom have lasted, Miss Agnes encourages the children to explore art, literature, and their own potential.

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Ages 9-12; Young Adult Books - Native Americans and American Indians

Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience and to save you research time.

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (The) by Sherman Alexie. (2007 - Young Adult)
Arnold Spirit, a goofy-looking dork with a decent jumpshot, spends his time lamenting life on the "poor-ass" Spokane Indian reservation, drawing cartoons and, along with his aptly named pal Rowdy, laughing those laughs over anything and nothing that affix best friends. When a teacher pleads with Arnold to want more, he switches to a rich white school and becomes as much an outcast in his own community as he is a curiosity in his new one.

Birchbark House (The) by Louise Erdrich. (2002 - Ages 9-12)
In 1847, Omaykayas lives on an island in Lake Superior. In the summer, her family moves to a house built of birchbark. With a mystical belief system, Omaykayas draws readers totally into the life of a Ojibwa girl - including tragedies wrought and brought by the encroaching white people. A 1999 Gold Award Winner.

Indian in the Cupboard (The) by Lynne Reid Banks. (2001 - Ages 9-12)
What could be better than a magic cupboard that turns small toys into living creatures? Omri's big brother has no birthday present for him, so he gives Omri an old medicine cabinet he's found. Although their mother supplies a key, the cabinet still doesn't seem like much of a present. But when an exhausted Omri dumps a plastic toy Indian into the cabinet just before falling asleep, the magic begins.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. (1971 - Ages 9-12)
The author was inspired by the real-life story of a 12-year-old American Indian girl, Karana. The author based his book on the life of this remarkable young woman who, during the evacuation of Ghalas-at (an island off the coast of California), jumped ship to stay with her young brother who had been abandoned on the island. He died shortly thereafter, and Karana fended for herself on the island for 18 years.

James Houston's Treasury of Inuit Legends (Odyssey Classics (Odyssey Classics)) by James A. Houston with Foreword by Theodore Taylor. (2006 - Ages 9-12)
James Houston made his first journey to the Canadian Arctic in 1948. There he found a warm, friendly people living in a vast, cold, hauntingly beautiful world. He lived with the Inuit and Indian people in the Arctic and grew to understand them and their way of life. He helped introduce Inuit culture to the world. Four exciting Inuit folktales--Akavak, Tiktaliktak, The White Archer, and Wolf Run--collected for the first time.

Jim & Me (Baseball Card Adventures) by Dan Gutman. (2008 - Ages 9-12)
He was the world's greatest athlete, and a hero—until his medals were taken away. Stosh is shocked when his enemy, Bobby Fuller, wants Stosh to take him back in time to meet Native American Jim Thorpe—an Olympic champion who lost his medals in a scandal. Thorpe went on to play professional baseball and football, but he could never again achieve such fame. His name was disgraced. Join Stosh and Fuller on a quest to save Jim's reputation.

Julie of the Wolves (rack) by Jean Craighead George with John Schoenherr (illus). (2003 - Ages 9-12)
To her small Eskimo village, she is known as Miyax; to her friend in San Francisco, she is Julie. When her life in the village becomes dangerous, Miyax runs away, only to find herself lost in the Alaskan wilderness. Without food and time running out, Miyax tries to survive by copying the ways of a pack of wolves. Accepted by their leader and befriended by a feisty pup named Kapu, she soon grows to love her new wolf family.

North American Indian (DK Eyewitness Books) by David S. Murdoch. (2005 - Ages 9-12)
Teacher: DK Eyewitness books are great and informative. I am teaching ESOL students who are learning English and taking content courses at the same time. They are unfamiliar with American History and Native American history is an even greater enigma to them. This book which supplies graphics and photos, allows students to gather a lot of information visually at a time when they have troubling reading English.

Paddle-to-the-Sea (Sandpiper Books) by Holling C. Holling. (1980 - Ages 9-12 - available as book, CD, or audio cassette)
A young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle's journey, in text and pictures, through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean provides an excellent geographic and historical picture of the region.

Touching Spirit Bear (rack) by Ben Mikaelsen. (2005 - Ages 9-12)
Cole Matthews has been fighting, stealing, and raising hell for years. So his punishment for beating Peter Driscal senseless is harsh. Given a choice between prison and Native American Circle Justice, Cole chooses Circle Justice: He'll spend one year in complete isolation on a remote Alaskan island. In the first days of his banishment, Cole is mauled by a mysterious white bear and nearly dies. Now there's no one left to save Cole, but Cole himself.

Trail of Tears (Step-Into-Reading, Step 5) by Joseph Bruchac. (1999 - Ages 9-12)
In 1838, settlers moving west forced the great Cherokee Nation, and their chief John Ross, to leave their home land and travel 1,200 miles to Oklahoma. An epic story of friendship, war, hope, and betrayal.

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Adult; Reference Books - Native Americans and American Indians

Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience and to save you research time.

American Indian Myths and Legends (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library), edited by Erdoes and Ortiz. (1985)
A rich, colorful, chaotic anthology. The 160 tales collected here come from a staggeringly varied group of tribes, from Pequod to Pima, Hopi to Kwakiutl, Snohomish to Iroquois, Yuma to Blackfoot. Some are taken from accounts by travelers and anthropologists; some are told by contemporary Indians (in English or various native tongues); some are highly traditional, some are new or personal elaborations on old material.

Flight: A Novel by Sherman Alexie (2007)
A powerful, fast and timely story of a troubled foster teenager — a boy who is not a “legal” Indian because he was never claimed by his father — who learns the true meaning of terror. About to commit a devastating act, the young man finds himself shot back through time on a shocking sojourn through moments of violence in American history.

Indian legends by Marion Washburne. HB published in 1915. xlib looks like it was part of a school series. Beautiful color plates. Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest by Ella Clark 1953. (2003)
This collection of more than one hundred tribal tales, culled from the oral tradition of the Indians of Washington and Oregon, presents the Indians' own stories, told for generations around their fires, of the mountains, lakes, and rivers, and of the creation of the world and the heavens above. Each group of stories is prefaced by a brief factual account of Indian beliefs and of storytelling customs.

Many winters; prose and poetry of the Pueblos by Nancy Wood with exceptional paintings and drawings by noted artist Frank Howell. (1974)
A look at the native Americans of Taos Pueblo discusses their eight hundred-year history in the Rio Grand Valley of New Mexico, their vision of the world, their way of life, and more.

Mythic World of the Zuni (The) as written by Frank Hamilton Cushing. 1998 U of New Mexico. (1992)
Reader: The Creation Myth of the Zuni Pueblo is fascinating to say the least. This book begins with a short preface relating the current location and brief history of the Zuni. The introduction tells us of Frank Hamilton Cushing's life and research among the Zuni.

Myths of the North American Indians by Lewis Spence 1914 . 1927 HB edition. Color plates. (1994)
Reader: This book is a collection of Native American myths and legends from all over North America. There are stories from many different tribes, like the Pawnees, the Chinooks, and the Haida. One of my favorites is from the Algonquin tribe. The story is about how Glooskap, the Algonquin Sun god, conquered all the evil spirits to be found. Then he met his match at the hands of a baby...

Return of the Sun: Native American Tales from the Northeast Woodlands by Joe Bruchac 1989. A great collection of stories. (1989)
More than 25 tales highlight the traditions, customs and beliefs of Native American nations from areas such as those now known as Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, the Great Lakes region and Canada. The stories are always lively: animal tricksters reign, but so do solemn enchantresses garbed as deer, a lazy man (Big Duck) who learns the hard way that all must contribute to the well-being of the people.

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Video titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more information on seeing these videos.
Alphabetized for your convenience and to save you research time.

Four Sheets to the Wind by Cody Lightning. (2007)
After his father's untimely suicide, Caf leaves his home in a Native American reservation in search of a more fulfilling life.

Life on an Indian Reservation by Morgan Spurlock. (2008)
Spurlock will leave America as he knows it, without ever actually leaving U.S. soil, to live with a people who many see as refugees in their own country, when he heads west to spend 30 days with the Native American Indians on the Navajo Nation.

Little Hawk Show (The) - Native American Stories & Songs by Kenneth Little Hawk. (2006)
Join Little Hawk on his Native American journey in the tradition of his ancestors. Enjoy these entertaining stories & songs for all ages that teach how to live "In A Good Way."

Native Americans - A Tribute by Native American Productions.
Pays homage to Native Americans, examining their history, culture, and traditions through narration, music, and the paintings of George Catlin, Charles Bird King, and the photographs of Edward S. Curtis.

Vanishing American by Shannon Day. (2000)
In an untamed land, an unbroken spirit. Based on the famous novel by Zane Grey, "The Vanishing American" is an epic scale historical melodrama about the mistreatment of the Native Americans and their ability to survive in spite of the governmental, environmental and inter-tribal hardships. Filmed on location in Monument Valley and the Betatakin Cliff Dwellings of Arizona, this colossal Paramount production offers a sweeping history of the American Indian--from the prehistoric "basket maker" to the 20th-Century Navajo.

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Toys and games are listed in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the products.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.

Alex Native America Bead Loom (8-12 years old)
Learn the ancient and beautiful art of Native American beading. High quality bead loom comes with over 2,000 beads for creating dozens of beaded projects. Bracelets, Necklaces, rings, and anklets¿the possibilities are endless. The included instruction booklet makes it easy.

Canoe with Figure (3 years and up)
The canoe was an important tool which Indians used to go hunting and cover long distances over water. It has true-to-life modelling and meticulous handpainting. Includes: Canoe Paddle Native American

Lewis and Clark Adventure Game (8 years and up)
Travel by keel boat, horse, canoe, moccasins...use beads for trading, gifts, purchasing Native Americans, see spectacular places, intriguing plants & animals, overcome difficulties - like adapting when food runs out, horses run away or illness strikes. Explore what really happened in the travels of Lewis & Clark.

Native American Dream Catcher (Pk/15)
Enjoy making these authentic-looking Native American crafts. Complete with all the materials you will need including instructions. 6" diameter. Pack of 15.

Peace at Last
1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

Pocahontas Doll - Disney Sun Colors
Made by Mattel in 1995 for the release of Disney's Pocahontas film! - She is Barbie sized at 11.5" tall. Leaves appear on her dress when placed in the sunlight.

Rio Grande Games Big Manitou (10 years and up)
The players go on hunts to collect buffalo and other appropriate items on their way to a victory, if they allocate their hunters better than the others. It has a playtime of 30 minutes with Native American theme.

Sideshow Collectibles "Crazy Horse" Six Gun Legends Series Two 12" Collectible Figure (older children)
This 12" figure of Crazy Horse comes with over 20 points of articulation and themed accessories

Sioux Boy on Horse (3 years and up)
The games of Sioux Boy were intended to prepare him for his later life. Riding skills and the use of bow and arrows were important preconditions. Enter the world of the American Frontier with these Sioux Indian Figures and Horses. Each is sold seperately. Each Indian has true-to-life modelling and meticulous handpainting. Great for imaginative play.

Tee Pee (3 years and up)
The entrance to the Tee Pee always points to the direction of the rising sun. The morning sun therefore shore into the interior of the tipi and was also shleter from the west wind

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Music titles are listed in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the products.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.

Canyon Trilogy: Native American Flute Music
Using digital technology, R. Carlos Nakai creates the sound of the cedar flute echoing in the canyons and valleys of the vast Southwest. His seventeen free flowing compositions soothe the spirit and carry the listener to the far realms of the imagination. Awarded a certified Gold Records in 1998 ~ the first ever awarded for a Native American music album. Hear samples.

Sacred Spirit: Chants and Dances of the Native Americans
An 11-song journey bridging the gap between ancient and contemporary history, tradition and modern instrumentation. While it is impossible to fully realize such scope on a single disc, Sacred Spirit makes the choice to represent all indigenous Americans rather than become mired in the potentially divisive bog of politics and tribal allegiance. All but two melodies are entirely traditional. Hear samples.

Native American flutes, ancient pan flutes, Indian drums & a host of instruments call to you with melody and emotion while whispering winds, gentle rains, distant thunder & various animals murmur in the distance. Both beautiful & inspirational, these "Musical Visions" as Huling calls them, are based upon ancient Native American stories & legends from the southwestern United States.

Tribal Winds: Music From Native American Flutes
Listener: This is my favorite CD. Whenever I need to relax, escape, or simply meditate, this music floats me away. It is deeply spiritual and takes the listener on a gentle journey deep within himself. I highly recommend it.

Listener: Beautiful, Serene, Peaceful. Everything to relieve you of the stress and anxieties of living in this fast paced rushed World. The soft sweet voices of these beautiful Indian Princesses will calm and soothe you into the sweetest dreams. You wont need Yoga if you have this in your collection. Highly Recommended. Hear samples.

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Jewelry and Gifts are listed in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the products.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.

Dreamcatcher Music Box - Spirits of Love Native American Style
When two people are in love, their happiness colors the world around them with shared joy. All of us dream of finding our soulmate and experiencing these feelings for ourselves. Once it is found, we rejoice in the miracle of true love. Now, you can celebrate moments of tenderness and romance with a Native American inspired dreamcatcher music box.

Earrings & Pendant - Sterling-silver Yellow-gold Black Hills Gold Dream Catcher dangle
Beautiful Black Hills Gold & Sterling Silver Dream catcher Earrings & Pendant are all diamond cut with a lot of sparkle. They have five 10K Gold Black Hills Rose-gold and lime gold leaves around the middle circle. The circle is about 5/8 inch or about 1/2 inch from side to side. Total size from the top of the circle to the bottom of the feather is about 1 1/4 inches hanging from hypoallergenic Sterling-silver French wires.

Necklace -Sterling-silver Southwest Mini-Bear Paw Three strand Liquid silver
From Northern New Mexico.This Beautiful and unique Southwest Mini Bear Paw pendant with three strand 16 to 18 inch Liquid-silver necklace showcases the beauty of Sterling Silver and re-constituted turquoise to perfection. Gleaming sterling-silver is crafted into a delicate mini Bear Paw. Adjustable length from 16 to 18 inches. Liquid silver necklace with re-constituted turquoise and sterling-silver beads.

Pendant - Sterling Silver Turquoise Chip Inlay Wolf Head South Western Native American Arrowhead
Pendant Height is Approximately 50 MM and Width is 25 MM at top and tapers down. This pendant is will enhance almost any chain. Pendant will be shipped in FREE Gift Pendant boxes making it easy for you to surprise some one.

Bracelet - Kirk Smith Sterling Silver Cluster Bracelet with Spiny Oyster and Gaspeite
An unique new style in a bracelet by famed Navajo artist Kirk Smith. Kirk is known for the heavy, traditional work that he creates in the style of his uncle Harry Morgan. This large, cluster bracelet is truly a piece of artwork that will be a collectible bracelet for years and years to come. The large oval, spiny oyster center stone is surrounded by oval, round and teardrop stones of spiny oyster, coral, gaspeite, turquoise and lapis.

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Online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
First People website — Native American legends (alphabetical by tribe). Excellent site for legends and information.
Marilee's Native American links (hundreds of sources)
Wampanoag Legends and Stories
Native American Lore Index Page with music.
Native American Stories, Culture and History (a fabulous site!)
Native American legends
Native American Stories from AngelFire.
Native American Legends, Myths and Lore from AngelFire.
Children's Native American Stories - Indian Short Stories for Kids - Printable - from Apples4theTeacher.
The Native American Bedtime Story Collection from many nations.
Circle of Stories from PBS. Includes Native American storytellers: Rosella Archdale, Hoskie Benally, Corbin Harney, Tchin.
Excellent site.
Native American Veterans: Storytelling for Healing.

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SOS - SEARCHING OUT STORIES AND INFORMATION ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS AND AMERICAN INDIANS Advice, Discussion and References from Storytellers, Teachers, Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find more stories / information.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
Posts are added chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.

1) Here's a great site for full-text North American Indian stories:
Tales of the North American Indians, by Stith Thompson (1929).This etext, one of the first that we scanned, is currently being revised. Additional material was scanned, egregious proofing errors in the original version are being corrected, and the text is being marked up in conformance with current practice at this site. The body of the text is finished now, the Notes and Bibliography are under preparation and will follow soon.

2) Learn the Secrets of a Hundred Generations Drawn from Native American Wisdom
Sacred Voices, Native American Teachings from the Council of Protected Words, by Wolf Moondance.
Wolf Moondance is a visionary of Native American and European descent who, drawing on her Osage heritage and training in human development, has been bringing the mystical teachings of the Native American culture to the people for over three decades. She is the author of several Best selling books on Native American teachings including Spirit Medicine, Rainbow Medicine, Star Medicine, and Bone Medicine. Since she was a child, Wolf has been blessed with visions, and she combines Native American teachings with modern psychology to teach people how they can change themselves and their lives in ways they have probably never dreamed possible. Within Sacred Voices you will come in touch with your inner shaman and all the teachings of the Sacred Council of Protected Words.

3) Activities to Celebrate Native American Heritage! November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Education World offers 12 lessons to help students learn about Native American history and cultures. Included: Activities that involve students in dramatizing folktales, learning new words, preparing traditional foods, and much more!

How did National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month get started? A brief time line illustrates some of the key events on the way to that designation: At the turn of the 20th century, people began making proposals for a day to honor Native Americans. In 1914, Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfoot tribe, rode horseback from state to state in the hope of gaining support for a day of tribute. The following year, Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a member of the Seneca tribe, persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to designate a day of recognition for Native Americans. New York was the first state to observe American Indian Day in 1916. Over the years, other states followed suit in designating a day to honor Native Americans. In 1976, a Senate resolution authorized the president of the United States to declare the week of October 10-16, 1976, as Native American Awareness Week. The celebration was expanded to a month in 1990....

4) Lesson Plans, including Native American legends
Unit: American Literature - Native American Stories
Created By: Marty Sierra-Perry, Centennial High School, Champaign

Welcome to the Internet School Library Media Center Native American page. You will find bibliographies, directories to pages of individual tribes, history and historical documents, periodicals and general links. The ISLMC is a preview site for teachers, librarians, students and parents. You can search this site, use an index or sitemap. The following sites have useful information on Native Americans. This page revised 1/22/00. NOTE: The Internet is being overwhelmed by viruses and spam. Please protect your computer with appropriate software. Also, many worthwhile sites have "pop-ups" which may change to include content unknown to me. Use preview sites before using with children.

) Not 'Indians,' Many Tribes: Native American Diversity Introduction
There were literally hundreds of Native American tribes and there still are. All of those tribes have their own traditions and their own customs. Many had their own language. To say that a certain word, recipe, or custom is "Indian" is incorrect.
Source: Wisdom Keepers, Inc.

7) Query:
I have some serious questions about the controversy regarding the telling of Native American Stories by non-Native American tellers. For twenty-five years I have been telling stories from around the world, including Native American tales from various peoples. At least two of these Indian tales were acquired from a very traditional Native American teller who publicly encouraged their retelling by all who heard them.

Last summer, I heard for the first time that some Native American tellers did not want others telling the tales of their people. Exactly one month later, I was invited to tell stories at a large Powwow. I explained my dilemma to the organizer, a Native American, but she told me it was a bunch of nonsense. Still feeling uncomfortable, I scheduled some other gig for the day of the Powwow, so I had an excuse to turn down her offer. I consulted with a Native American friend of mine who told me that if my heart is pure and I don't pretend to represent someone else's culture that her elders and teachers believe very strongly that it would be okay to tell their stories.

Seems to me that opposing opinions exist on this topic amongst Native Americans themselves.

Recently, I was invited to offer a workshop with a visual artist at a prominent museum. They wanted Native American stories to be told. I asked them to hire a Native American teller, but they said they could not find one locally who could pull off the kind of collaborative workshop with the artist, a sort of thing that they know I have had experience doing in the past. They insisted they wanted me. I countered that I might consider telling a mix of stories from indigenous people around the world, including a few Native American tales. I await their response.

What confuses the issue even more for me is that my adopted daughter's birth father is part Wichi, Indians from northern Argentina. She is proud to hear me tell stories from her heritage.

My heart tells me that I should follow my friend's advice "if your heart is pure, go ahead." Any thoughts on this?
John C.


a) My admittedly European perspective is that a heart saying "yes" has more truth than someone saying "no". You are obviously very sensitive to the issues involved - as your friend's advice recognises. I'm sure some will disagree with this, but I find it hard to accept anyone's "right" to claim exclusive use to a story. Stories are bigger than that.
Richard M. - Germany

b) Your friend's advice is good, John, and it seems to me that's the litmus test for telling any story. Of course, it's also a very high standard, and none of us comes up to it with every story. Some First Nations friends in Canada have told me they view the telling of their stories as cultural colonialism. They've lost everything else. Now we want their stories too. On the other hand, others have given me stories to tell.

Your friend sets the highest standard, a pure heart. We walk a tightrope on this issue. I choose not to tell Native American stories because I've worked many years in northern British Columbia, where I came to understand that my doing so would be painful to many and where I also came to accept that I would never understand the stories from the inside out. But I've known many tellers who do tell stories from First Nations and Native American people and tell them with both permission and good heart and sometimes even with a deep (though never complete) knowledge of the people from whom they spring. I've also known people whose tellings garbled the stories beyond recognition, but that's another story.
Cathryn W.

c) According to some Native American Tellers stories some have been told only for you.
they are not made to be retold. They also believe stories are a living breathing spirit as real as anything in this world. Others believe the whites have stolen everything else from the Native Americans water, land, minerals and now they seek to steal our stories. I think if stories are told with respect I believe it is okay.

If we don't tell the stories, they will surely die. All it takes is one generation,not to know them and they are lost forever.

I don't do Native American Creation stories because of misinterpreting it. I mean if you are a Christian, How would like a Native American telling the story of Easter and they leave out the cross ? Trickster Tales and wisdom tales are different.
Gary G.

d) First, I have to say I respect your opinion and am not trying to be flip when I say . . . if one was connected to a "story of Easter" without the cross and felt comfortable to tell it AND were clear they were not representing the Christian point of view - yes, go ahead and tell it. If I was in the audience, and if I was Christian and heard a teller tell a story without being clear who they were representing . . . I would just think that THAT was interesting take on things. All this has caused me to wonder if the "cross" was as important a symbol at the first Easter as it has become since.
Mary K.C.|

e) I was trying to give yet another example. Maybe I should have said without the resurrection. The cross was the example I was given in a class with Cherokee teller Gayle Ross. I guess no matter how you try sometimes, you are gonna offend someone regardless. I agree you have to use your own judgement. It is just my choice.Again I am not an expert.
Gary G.

f) I'm not an expert either. I wasn't offended by your post at all - my response was just what came to mind after reading yours. There have been quite a few times when I have struggled with just these issues.

I was thinking later about cultural tales (Native American and others) . . . in many ways they remind me of sacred personal tales. And what is a sacred tale - well, actually I consider a lot of stories (personal, folk tale, original tales) I tell sacred where some folks might think - hey that's just a story. And it has also been through story where I have come to feel a part of a universal tribe somehow so some of my stories (and other cultural stories) would naturally connect with others.

I'm also wondering about the cultural tales as well as personal stories (even family, political stories, etc.) that we cling to - insist that ours is the true version or the right tale or that only we have a right to tell it. Are we attaching to a story already written or allowing ourselves to grow and know and write/tell new stories?

I know, on a personal level, there have been stories that I have clung to only to realize, through my work as a storyteller that I must let the story go and and when it comes back to me (if it does) it is usually full of
hings I hadn't seen in it to begin with.

I appreciate your thoughts and it must have been wonderful to have had a class with Gayle Ross. When I was coming to know one of my stories inspired from a Native American story I ran into great difficulty getting in touch with other Native American storytellers . . . now THAT is another story for another day.
Mary K.C.

g) You can find every answer to this question - from both Native Americans and non. In the end, you have to decide for yourself. A counselor of mine told me that a shaman friend of his (a Navaho) told him that the question to ask is "What am I consecrated to?" If telling the story falls within that consecration, go ahead..... Of course, I should add that this particular shaman has been much vilified by some of his own people for telling and teaching outside of his tribe. I understand that he caused a great furor at a World Council of Indigenous Peoples by stating that ALL peoples are indigenous to this planet.
Kimberley K.

h) He has a very good point! That is not to deny the sense of exploitation by those who have been so exploited in the past. But, as my mother is fond of saying, two wrongs don't make a right!
Richard M. Germany

i) I'm sure others saw this story last night on CBS "60 Minutes."

It was a fascinating look at a people ruled by their world of the Andaman Sea, and who were spared during the tsunami because of a traditional story told over the eons. There was one short film clip showing them telling the story, chant style with a drum, around the fire.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that for many of the traditional stories of a culture, there is more to them than simply sharing the culture. They are a means of coding important survival information, as the events of December 26 so dramatically showed. I read a really interesting book a few years back, "The Spell of the Sensuous," that explored this fact in depth.
Gwyn C.

j) I would agree with telling a tale if your heart is pure. While I was working in the Peace Corps in Cameroon, West Africa, I was constantly drilled with being culturally sensitive, so I understand the reluctance of telling stories of a people that my ancestors waged genocide upon. However, I also know that we are all much more than these physical bodies enshrouded by time and so is the Wisdom behind the tales. I have a strong affinity for Hindu tales and other tales from the East. Again, my ancestors did a number there on the subcontinent. But I have no difficulty here because the Wisdom behind of the Puranas and the Mahabharata and the others is timeless and sees all these human issues as just distractions from getting to the Essential and are just part of the Play or Leela. The Wisdom behind these tales would see that there was a great benefit for the world that England occupied India, or China in Tibet or the Europeans into the Americas, because the seeds of Wisdom were scattered over the winds of this age, to help us all in becoming world citizens. It is the same with the visual arts and music as well. The world is becoming full of intersecting circles. With that said, if the respect for any tale is not there and we storytellers are just telling or writing tales to feed our egos, then it is just more commercialism.
Janaka S.

k) I'm not going to get into any big religious debate and I'm not trying to be the fly in the ointment. And it might be wise to remember that I'm the protestant boy who leaves church on a Sunday morning, teaches Hebrew school in the afternoon and then goes home and waits for a Catholic School Board to ask him to supply teach. I carry a Lenten package into faith-based schools throughout Ontario. One of those stories uses an empty egg shell as a prop.

Christmas is not a big story -- everybody was born. Good Friday is not a big story -- everybody will die. The big story is the empty tomb. That's what Christian faith is all about. Yes, crushing an eggshell in your hand and having nothing come out of it, creates an impact in little impressionable minds.
Dale P.

l) That is what I have always loved about this list. Our ability to discuss touchy items is so great.I miss Chuck Larken. He always had a comment and it was right to the point. You knew where he stood. Whether you agree or not. Some people I know will not tell other stories because of doing accents that stereotype cultures. Tersi Bendeberg, Carman Agra Deedy and the late J.J. Reneaux have all expressed concern. How some will mimic their stories and accents, some saying the words wrong. Any tale I tell I try to put my own spin on it. but give full credit to The Native American Tribe it came from. I will not talk in gutteral one word expressions when I tell a Native Tale. When I was asked the first year at the Park by the city schools to dress like an indian.I flatly refused. I spoke with Lloyd Arneach,a Cherokee Storyteller and he agreed I did the correct thing. I dressed like a pioneer and told the tale and it was accepted very well. My Cherokee friends know I am not a wanna be . I simply don't know about that part of my family history. I try to see the heart of these people.
Gary G.

m) Shekul'i Relatives~
This is a tough one. Non-Natives telling Native stories----hhmmm. Personally, I believe-that if you have an open and honorable heart and-are "willing" to take the time to learn/research the cultural roots and tribal teachings of the story's origin- you then have a responsibility to "re-tell" that Story-with a Good Mind. We call this-"cultural integrity. As far as getting permission to "tell" a Native American story. I can tell you that you will get a different answer to that question depending upon which Nation/individual you ask. I am no authority on this. I can tell you what I have been taught. My friends, there are many teachings/lessons in these Sacred Stories. The children-the People-they need to hear the Stories.
Debra W.

n) I hope you'll look for my article in the July issue of Storytelling Magazine. It's about telling the stories of marginalized peoples, and I've focused on Arabs (who have been quite marginalized in USA since 9/11), but the theory is the same. I'd tell you the title, but I don't know what Diane Wyzga is going to choose.

Some of you have expressed well the attitude that stories are the last things left that haven't been taken away, so of course a people would be protective of them. I'm not going into that, but I will give you just a sneak preview.

Getting to know a new culture is something that happens in stages. The first stage is the beautiful and attractive things: foods, native dress, crafts and jewelry, simple words and phrases, stories which are more similar to those of the mainstream culture, stuff like that. The next stage is just broadening your information--more of the same, and, for the most part, still from the perspective of the culture you came from but it's starting not to make sense. The third stage is transformative; you come to a deeper understanding of what it is like to be in and a part of that culture, and you begin to understand it from the point of view of those who live it. It is possible for an "outsider" to come this far, but you can see, even from this short list, that it would take a long time. The fourth stage is the social action stage, which is not necessarily to say protest marching, but rather that you make decisions and take actions based on deep feelings about the culture. It can be very hard for someone who is stage four native to a culture to really communicate with someone who is just barely stage one entering into it, and it is very frustrating for both. Lots of jokes are based on this type of situation.

This is not my own stage theory of cultural acquisition, but rather it is based on the Typology of Multicultural education theories of James Banks of the University of Washington. We use it at the Institute of Texan Cultures, where I work as an Educational Specialist, to help teachers understand how to introduce new cultures and make them meaningful. That's actually the way he wrote it, too--from the teacher's point of view--but I prefer to express it from the point of view of the learner, for we are all learners. Other stage theories have been proposed, but Banks was the first in this area, and while it is not perfect, it is still very clear and useful (and short--and all we storytellers need to do is to "get" it, not be able to recite it or teach it to teachers!).

The only way anyone ever learns about a culture is to see and hear about it, and sometimes he hear and learn about it wrong the first few times, but usually we get it worked out at least a little better in the end. We make mistakes, we step on each others' toes; we never do another culture justice, so we just do the best we can and keep trying since we're all in it together when you get right down to it. Most Native Americans are part something else, and many have learned their own cultures as adults; their special connection and their pride (which sometimes their parents did not have) helps them persist until they understand; it is not impossible for someone with no native blood to attain that complete internalization of the culture, but it is quite rare.

(It might be kind of like a man telling stories about strong women of the Bible from the woman's point of view. I've been thinking about that post, and I suspect there will be some objection among the audience to his interpretation. Since women are also somewhat marginalized, I can't help but sit here and have misgivings about how good a job that correspondent might do! I'm not being coy here; I just don't remember the name of the listmember who wrote about that right now.)

Anyway, all that being said, I do not presently tell Native American Stories; I have not been particularly called by them, and (most importantly) there are several very good Native American storytellers in my neighborhood (Tim Tingle, Gayle Ross, Emma Ortega) so it's not like there's a dearth of good native storytelling within reach. If that were not so, I would probably make an effort to find some stories that called to me and do my part to keep them alive, working them into my programs which mostly consist of folktales, fairy tales and legends from around the world. In a way, when I'm presenting alone at a school and tell stories from many cultures _without_ including Native American, I feel bad; I feel like I'm saying something right there--that I don't like American Indians, or that they don't have a strong storytelling tradition--which is absolutely not true, so....that's the flip side of not telling NA stories.
Mary Grace K.

o) I don't know, but it seems to me that the consensu of opinion on the panel at in Providence was not to tell Native American stories. Nevertheless at least one of the stories I heard there had a fairly well-known European variant - now who had that story first? The Europeans? Or the Native Americans? And given that it was (except for names) virtually the same story, who could claim "ownership?"

p) Do you need to be Finnish to have the right to tell a story from the Kalevela? From India to tell a Jataka tale? Jewish to tell a Chelm story? South African to tell a story of Mantis? French to tell Little Red Riding Hood?

Can you tell any of these stories with more authenticity or depth if you are from these cultures or countries....perhaps...but not necessarily. Maybe we should dig up Joseph Campbell and others and put him through the Storytellers Inquisition for daring to uncover stories from so many sources obviously not of their tradition.

Honor to the stories! Honor to the peoples and traditions from where the stories arise! Honor to the storytellers who keep great stories alive!
Bob K. (who once heard Johnny Moses do a brilliant reworking of a classic contemporary Jewish teaching tale, which deepened for me the meaning of that very tale that I'd heard from my father)

q) I think Johnny has a habit (principle?) of trading a story back when he asks permission to use someone's story. It sounds like a good idea to me.
Mary G.

r) Do you know there is actually some evidence that perhaps early tribal Europeans were the first Native Americans?
Mary K. C.

8) Tim Tingle has addressed this controversy in a panel. While individual Indian tellers having different views won't, of course, be bound by the conclusions of their colleagues, we expect that the panelists will offer non-Indian tellers a range of options for approaching the telling of Indian stories.
Fran S.

9) "How The Sun Came" – A Cherokee Myth (posted by Beatrice Bowles, March 2002)
In the beginning, there was no light, no light anywhere on Earth. The first people, the animal people, were always stumbling around in the dark, bumping into the rocks and trees, and into each other.
“What we need,” the large animals growled, “is some light!”
“Yes,” cried the little animals, “what we need is light.”Finally, there got to be so many animals and they were bumping into each other so often, that they called a meeting in the dark to decide how to get some light.The last to arrive at the meeting was Red-headed Woodpecker. She flew in crying, “Light! Light! I’ve seen some light way over on the far side of the world!!”“Good! Good!” cried all the animals.But then they got into a huge fight about who should go and get the light.
Who was the fastest? Who was the strongest? Who was the smartest?
Finally, Possum spoke up, loudest of all. “I’ll go! I’m big! I’m strong! I’ve got sharp claws and the biggest, bushiest fur coat. I’ll hide the light in my fur!”
“Good! Good!” cried all the animals. So Possum set off in the darkness, traveling towards the land of the sun. As he got closer, Possum squinted his eyes to shut out the light, as he still does today. Possum grabbed a bit of the sun, hid it in his fine thick bushy tail and went back through the darkness, all the way back to the land of the animal people. Possum called out, “I’m back and I’ve brought you some light!”
“Good! Good!” cried all the animals.
Possum reached for the light but he discovered the sun had burned off all the fur on his fine thick bushy tail, and Possum’s tail was as naked as it is today.“Oh no!” cried Possum.“Oh no!” cried all the animals. “Possum’s lost all the fur on his fine thick bushy tail, and still we have no light! What shall we do?”
Then Buzzard spoke up. “AWK! I’ll go. I’ll bring you some light. Everyone knows my brain is bigger than Possum’s. Just look at all my fine thick head feathers! AWK!”
So Buzzard set off through the darkness, flying high and straight as he does today, heading towards the land of the sun. When he got there, Buzzard grabbed a bit of the light, put it in his fine thick head-feathers and flew back through the darkness, high and straight, all the way back to the land of the animal people.“AWK!” cried Buzzard, ”I’ve brought you some light!”But when Buzzard reached up, he discovered that the sun had burnt off all his fine thick head-feathers, and Buzzard’s head was as bare as it is today.
“Oh no!” cried Buzzard.“Oh no!” cried all the animals. “Possum’s lost his fine thick bushy tail. Buzzard’s lost his fine thick head-feathers, and still we have no light. What shall we do so that we may have some light? Now we’ve
sent our best warriors! What can we do?”
“You’ve done everything a man can do, it’s true,” said a tiny little voice from down in the grass, “but perhaps this is something a little creature can do better than a big one. Maybe this is something a woman can do better than a man!”
“Who are you?” cried the animals. “Who are you speaking to us in that funny little voice from down in the grass?”
“I am your Spider Grandmother. Perhaps I was put into the world to bring you light. Who knows? At least I can try, and if I am burnt up, it’s not as if you lost one of your big strong warriors. I’ll go.”
“Good! Good!” cried all the animals.
So Spiker Grandmother felt around in the darkness until she found alump of damp clay. Then she molded it into a bowl, a fine little round clay bowl. Holding up the bowl to dry and spinning a long thread out behind her, Spider Grandmother set off through the darkness, traveling from west to east, towards the land of the sun.When she got there, Spider Grandmother grabbed a little bit of the sun and dropped it in her clay bowl. Then, following that thread that she had spun, Spider Grandmother traveled west again, with the light growing and spreading before her.Spider Grandmother returned to the land of the animals people bringing with her the very first sunny day.

Ever since that time, pottery making has been considered sacred work, and spiders have the honor of spinning their homes in the spae of the rays of the sun. You can see it for yourself.
Judy S. 6/1//07

10) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. (2009 - Young Adult)
Arnold Spirit, a goofy-looking dork with a decent jumpshot, spends his time lamenting life on the "poor-ass" Spokane Indian reservation, drawing cartoons (which accompany, and often provide more insight than, the narrative), and, along with his aptly named pal Rowdy, laughing those laughs over anything and nothing that affix best friends so intricately together. When a teacher pleads with Arnold to want more, to escape the hopelessness of the rez, Arnold switches to a rich white school and immediately becomes as much an outcast in his own community as he is a curiosity in his new one. He weathers the typical teenage indignations and triumphs like a champ but soon faces far more trying ordeals as his home life begins to crumble and decay amidst the suffocating mire of alcoholism on the reservation. Alexie's humor and prose are easygoing and well suited to his young audience, and he doesn't pull many punches as he levels his eye at stereotypes both warranted and inapt. A few of the plotlines fade to gray by the end, but this ultimately affirms the incredible power of best friends to hurt and heal in equal measure. Younger teens looking for the strength to lift themselves out of rough situations would do well to start here. Chipman, Ian

11) Oban's Myths & Legends
"Crow Brings Daylight" - an Inuit story retold by Oban

A long time ago when the world was first born, it was always dark in the north where the Inuit people lived.

They thought it was dark all over the world until an old crow told the them about daylight and how he had seen it on his long journeys.

The more they heard about daylight, the more the people wanted it.

"We could hunt further and for longer," they said. "We could see the polar bears coming and run before they attack us."The people begged the crow to go and bring them daylight, but he didn't want to. "It's a long way and I'm too old to fly that far," he said. But the people begged until he finally agreed to go.

He flapped his wings and launched into the dark sky, towards the east. He flew for a long time until his wings were tired. He was about to turn back when he saw the dim glow of daylight in the distance. "At last, there is daylight," said the tired crow.

As he flew towards the dim light it became brighter and brighter until the whole sky was bright and he could see for miles. The exhausted bird landed in a tree near a village, wanting to rest. It was very cold.

A daughter of the chief came to the nearby river. As she dipped her bucket in the icy water, Crow turned himself into a speck of dust and drifted down onto her fur cloak. When she walked back to her father's snowlodge....
The rest of the story is at:

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