Monday, November 12, 2012

Native American Folklore

November is Native American Heritage Month. Libraries, Archives, and Museums across the United States take this month to pay tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.

Native American cultures and tribes have wonderful myths, legends, fables, and folklore that have been passed down from generation to generation which can tell us about the peoples from whom these stories came. Although stories sometimes include multiple genres, generally speaking:
§  Myths are stories that try to explain how the natural world works and how we should treat each other. They often begin with allusions to “in times long ago before history as we know it was written…” One myth that most cultures, tribes, or groups of people have is their version of how our world came to be in existence.
§  Legends tend to recount stories about people and their actions or deeds. Legends usually try to teach a lesson, or have a “moral” to the tale as passed down from generation to generation and are embellishments of actual historical events and people (like Robin Hood or King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table).
§  Fables feature animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature which are given human qualities. Aesop’s Fables is a well-known example.
§  Folklore explores oral history, proverbs, popular beliefs, rituals, customs, and traditions of a specific culture or group of people.
SLCC Libraries have a wide selection of books and electronic resources on Native American myths, legends, fables, and folklore. Be sure to check some of them out! And for more information about Native American Heritage Month, please visit which details the history behind this celebration and specific growing collaborative projects related to celebrating Native American Heritage.