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Native American Heritage Month 2020: Storytelling

Celebrate culture and tradition during Native American Heritage Month

Storytelling and Oral Traditions in Native American cultures.

Storytelling may well be the earliest method of communication, education, and entertainment. Although it has ancient roots, storytelling is still a vibrant and vital part of many Native American cultures.

Check out the resources linked below for more information!

Storytelling E-books in the TCC Library

book cover image - an empty snail shell sits in a clam-shell style bowl

The Anguish of Snails

After a career working and living with American Indians and studying their traditions, Barre Toelken has written this sweeping study of Native American folklore in the West. Within a framework of performance theory, cultural worldview, and collaborative research, he examines Native American visual arts, dance, oral tradition (story and song), humor, and patterns of thinking and discovery to demonstrate what can be gleaned from Indian traditions by Natives and non-Natives alike. 

book cover image - illustration of an open hand reaching toward a small turtle

Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club

Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club paints a vivid, fascinating portrait of a community deeply grounded in tradition and dynamically engaged in the present. A collection of forty interwoven stories, conversations, and teachings about Western Cherokee life, beliefs, and the art of storytelling, the book orchestrates a multilayered conversation between a group of honored Cherokee elders, storytellers, and knowledge-keepers and the communities their stories touch. 

book cover image - a bear and eagle in silhouette on a hillside, near a tree with the sun setting behind

Flying with the Eagle, Racing the Great Bear

Flying With The Eagle, Racing the Great Bear is a continent-spanning collection of sixteen thrilling tales in which young men must face great enemies, find the strength and endurance within themselves to succeed, and take their place by the side of their elders.

book cover image - text reads Living Stories of the Cherokee

Living Stories of the Cherokee

This remarkable book, the first major new collection of Cherokee stories published in nearly a hundred years, presents seventy-two traditional and contemporary tales from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. Taken together, they demonstrate that storytelling is a living, vital tradition. As new stories are added and old stories are changed or forgotten, Cherokee storytelling grows and evolves. 

line art of a mythological creature

Native American Legends of the Southeast

The study of legends has long been a critical component of cultural anthropological analysis.  In Native American Legends of the Southeast, George E. Lankford has compiled and analyzed a collection of unique and rare legends that will continue to appeal to scholars and students of Native American culture and the study of legends in general.

book cover image - multi-color painting of Native American people in an abstract style

Old Indian Legends

Early in the twentieth century, a Sioux woman named Zitkala-Sa published these fourteen Native legends that she had learned during her own childhood on the Yankton Reservation. Her writing talent, developed during her education back east, was put to good use in recording from oral tradition the exploits of Iktomi the trickster, Eya the glutton, the Dragon Fly, and other magical and mysterious figures, human and animal, known to the Sioux. Until her death in 1938, Zitkala-Sa stood between two cultures as preserver and translator.

book cover image - a feather floats in grass, a Native American person is just visible in profile in the background

Our Stories Remember

An illuminating look at Native origins and lifeways, a treasure for all who value Native wisdom and the stories that keep it alive.

book cover image - photo of a rocky, desert landscape with a mountain in the distance

Stories from Quechan Oral Literature

The Quechan are a Yuman people who have traditionally lived along the lower part of the Colorado River in California and Arizona. The eleven narratives in this volume take place at the beginning of time and introduce the reader to a variety of traditional characters, including the infamous Coyote and also Kwayuu the giant, Old Lady Sanyuuxav and her twin sons, and the Man Who Bothered Ants. This book makes a long-awaited contribution to the oral literature and mythology of the American Southwest.

book cover image - a collage of several photos of the sky

Sky Loom

Sky Loom offers a dazzling introduction to Native American myths, stories, and songs drawn from previous collections by acclaimed translator and poet Brian Swann. With a general introduction by Swann, Sky Loom is a stunning collection that provides a glimpse into the intricacies and beauties of story and myth, placing them in their cultural, historical, and linguistic contexts. 

book cover image - two giant hawks appear to be talking to a Native American woman

Texas Indian Myths and Legends

Step into a colorful pageantry of the powerful people who once ruled and still influence the great state of Texas. From the Caddo in the Piney Woods, the Lipan Apache in the Southwest, the Wichita at the Red River, and the Comanche across the Great Plains to the Alabama-Coushatta in the Big Thicket, five nations come alive through myth and history in Jane Archer's vividly written book about the first Texans.

Circle of Stories Documentary

Native Voices