Native American Lore

Indian Why Stories

Frank B Linderman

Illustrated by Charles M Russell

Softbound

$5.95

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I can hardly believe that I'm only now discovering this gem of a book! How is it that I've not known about it all these years? The stories, collected by a devotee of Native American lore and originally published in 1915 are warm, evocative, rich and deep, and, well, just plain wonderful. In the context of Waldorf (or any!) education, there are some which could be used alongside Aesop as another sort of fable. Others, will fit in more easily when it is time to discover our native history and geography in 4th grade. The entire book is so alive with wisdom and an intimate knowledge of nature and its ways that anyone who reads it (or has it read to them) will keep these stories in their heart.

Here's some of the stories you'll find inside:

  • How the Ducks Got Their Fine Feathers
  • How the Otter Skin Became Great Medicine
  • Why the Kingfisher Always Wears a War-Bonnet
  • How the Man found His Mate
  • Why the Chipmunk's Back Is Striped
  • The Moon and the Great Snake

And many, many more, each as inviting as the next. This book is a find!

The Secrets and Mysteries of the Cherokee Little People

Yuñwt Tsunsdt'

Lynn King Lossiah

Softbound, large format

Beautifully illustrated throughout with soft pencil drawings

$23.95

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Secrets and Mysteries of the Cherokee Little People is a treasure of traditional Native American stories of elemental beings and angels and their workings with human beings.  The Cherokee have spoken of the Little People as long as time remembered. These nature beings are known as the Yuñwt Tsunsdt'.  This book reveals some of the secrets told among countless stories by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.  These are a few of their stories.

The stories range from delightful tales filled with humor to poignant stories of help and healing.  I believe that anyone familiar with the European experience of Little People will find a joyous universality here, as well as confirmation of the goodness of the human heart.  Some of the beauty of these stories rings so true that it brings tears to my eyes.

In addition to the many beautiful stories recorded here, there is the bonus that this edition features a bilingual interweaving of essential Cherokee words, spelled phonetically for English speaking readers.  As you and your children or students read these stories, you will be introduced to and learn a bit of Cherokee and develop a feeling for the language.

Gracefully told, wonderfully illustrated, ideal for ages 9 and up.  Note that not all the stories are for children, but most are very appropriate.

 

The Indian How Book

Arthur C Parker

Softbound

$12.95

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When I was about 5 years old, I had a children's version of this book. I was so captivated by the possibilities of making all these things, from clothing to long houses, that I have never forgotten the pictures I spent so much time looking at, despite the fact that my parents did not see fit to begin canoe construction in our apartment living room. And, until recently, I didn't even know that the book I loved so well descended from an adult book that goes into much more detail and is, to an adult, much more interesting.

The things you can learn from this book are just perfect for passing along to your children or class -- the concrete nature of creating any of these things taken from a variety of Native American tribes will convey more about the people who made them, and more about how the earth really is, than anything that could be said. This is one of the richest treasuries about Native American life still available -- as a resource book for parents or teachers, it is truly unbeatable.

Native American Creation Myths

Collected, translated and retold by Jeremiah Curtin (1835-1906)

Softbound

$14.95

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Jeremiah Curtin was one of the greatest linguists and ethnographers of his day, and it is to him that we owe the preservation of many of the world's greatest myths and legends. I should add, he was also a consummate story teller -- although educated at Harvard, his stories ring with the warm and wisdom of the campfire. They are truly told beautifully and would be a wonderful addition to both 3rd and 4th grade in the Waldorf Curriculum. They are, in fact, wonderful at any time after that too -- these are cultural gifts for all of us.

Native American Creation Myths tells the great myth cycles of the Wintu and Yana groups of what is now called Northern California. Anyone familiar with the creation story told by Plato in the Timaeus will immediately recognize both the viewpoint and many of the elements in these stories. That they sprung from traditions rich and deep is without question. That they still have much to offer us, even in this speeding modern world of ours, is also without question.

The first cycle includes myths dealing with the metamorphoses of the first people or gods into everything that is in the world, including the world itself. The second cycle describes the various changes, phenomena and processes observed throughout nature. Light and darkness, heat and cold, opposing winds, and heavenly bodies appear as heroes and leading actors. Here the first people as described in the creation myths were models upon which those faithful were to fashion their lives in all times and places.

These myths are a beautiful discovery - do enjoy!

Reincarnation Beliefs of North American Indians

Soul Journeys, Metamorphoses and Near-Death Experiences

Warren Jefferson

Softbound

$15.95

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I think that anyone who has studied anthroposophy or the great myths and religions of the world will be interested in reading this book.  In it you'll find accounts and stories that echo, expand, diverge and replicate perspectives and experiences that will be, at their heart, familiar.  Additionally, the text is replete with early black and white photos that offer us glimpses of daily North American native life, sacred costumes and designs, and much more.  From my perspective, the photos alone tell a story of deep humanity; that the text is so thorough and well-considered is an exceptional bonus.

The stories and commentary presented here are well researched and drawn from anthropological records and other reliable sources of information. Learn about a Winnebago shaman’s initiation, the Cherokee’s Orpheus myth, the story of “A Journey to the Skeleton House” from the Hopi, the Inuit man who lived the lives of all animals, the Ghost Dance, and other extraordinary accounts.

“The elements and majestic forces in nature, Lightning, Wind, Water, Fire, and Frost, were regarded with awe as spiritual powers, but always secondary and intermediate in character. We believed that the spirit pervades all creation and that every creature possesses a soul in some degree, though not necessarily a soul conscious of itself. The tree, the waterfall, the grizzly bear, each is an embodied Force, and as such an object of reverence.” —Ohiyesa

Native American Tales and Legends

Edited by Allan A Macfarlan

Unabridged

Softbound

$3.50

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This exciting collection contains more than thirty richly imaginative stories from a wide variety o f Native American sources covering a broad spectrum of subjects. Included are creation myths, hero tales and trickster stories, as well as tales of little people, giants, and monsters, and of magic, enchantment, sorcery, and the spirit world.

Among the stories included are "The White Stone Canoe" (Chippawa), "Raven Pretends to Build a Canoe (Tsimshian), "The Theft from the Sun" (Blackfoot), "The Loon's Necklace" (Iroquois), "The Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting" (Cherokee), "The Coyote" (Pueblo), and "The Origin of the Buffalo and of Corn" (Cheyenne).

 

Why the Crocodile Has a Wide Mouth

and Other Nature Myths

Florence Holbrook

Softbound

$5.95

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These fifty-four stories, gathered from cultures around the world and told for children, offer up the myths of the creation of some of the most fascinating animals and phenomena of the world.

Learn why the rabbit is timid and the bear has a short tail. Find out how fire was brought to the Indians, and how summer came to the earth. Discover why the sea is salty and evergreen trees never lose their leaves. You can meet the children in the moon and the first grasshopper, too.

In my opinion, this is a delightful accompaniment to fables and good, happy reading any time.

Dream Feather

Viento Stan-Padilla

Softbound

Illustrated in luminous paintings by the author

$11.95

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When the time is right all things are
released from their hidden places
and brought to the light of day.

A native boy on is led on a spirit journey by a sacred feather that takes him through all the realms of the spirit world and the human heart.  Told in truly beautiful poetry/prose and illustrated with remarkable paintings filled with beauty and wisdom, I can see Waldorf 4th and 5th graders wrapping themselves in this story, and older children and adults loving the simplicity of the wisdom it conveys. 

A quick note about the author:  Viento Stan-Padilla was associated for many years with Live Oak Waldorf School in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains.  There is a universal wisdom that embodies his stories and paintings, and a clear love of all creation.

Highly recommend!

Tribal Childhood

Growing Up in Traditional Native America

Adolf Hungrywolf

Softbound

More than 40 vintage photos and illustrations.

$16.95

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I found this book to be simply fascinating and think that anyone interested in child development, parenting, or teaching will feel the same.  First hand accounts of growing up in several different North American native tribes are coupled with history, photos, comments by elders as to how these traditions continue or have changed: all of this paints a picture of ways of bringing young people into the world with respect and spiritual awareness.  While none of these approaches may translate directly into something viable for modern non-tribal life, all of them have something to teach in terms of how to educate children with love and tend them with the wisdom of nature.  As I said, this is a fascinating book.

Natural childbirth, a respect for elders and spiritual practice, a sense of responsibility for family and tribe, and training in stillness and attentiveness (especially when interacting with the natural world) were important aspects of childhood in these tribes.

Tribal Childhood recounts stories of:

  • Naming ceremonies and the "dreaming" of names
  • Birthing practices adn remedies for nursing problems and other difficulties
  • Approaches to discipline
  • Cradleboards: their construction and use
  • Initiations into puberty and special societies
  • Courting and marriage customs