Indian Why Stories
Publication date: November 2009
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)
This book has been especially republished to raise funds for the American Indian Education Foundation, benefitting the education of Native Americans across the United States of America This volume was written and recorded in a time when the great Northwest was rapidly becoming a settled country. With the passing of the traditional ways of the Indian much of the America's aboriginal folk-lore, rich in its fairy-like characters, and its relation to the lives of its native people has been lost. There is a wide difference between folk-lore of the so-called Old World and that of America. Transmitted orally through countless generations, the folk-stories of our European ancestors show many evidences of distortion and of change in material particulars; but the Indian seems to have been too fond of nature and too proud of tradition to have forgotten or changed the teachings of his forefathers. Childlike in simplicity, beginning with creation itself, and reaching to the whys and wherefores of nature's moods and eccentricities, these tales impress as being well worth saving. These 22 "Why" stories from the Blackfeet, Chippewa, and Cree tribes were handed down from father to son, with little variation, through countless generations, until the white man slaughtered the buffalo, took to himself the open country, and left the red man little better than a beggar. But the tribal story-teller has passed, and only here and there is to be found a patriarch who loves the legends of other days. This book is an attempt to ensure that these memories are forever on record and never lost to future generations. Old-man, or Napa, as he is called by the tribes of Blackfeet, is the strangest character in Indian folk-lore. Sometimes he appears as a god or creator, and again as a fool, a thief, or a clown. But to the Indian, Napa is not the Deity; he occupies a somewhat subordinate position, possessing many attributes which have sometimes caused him to be confounded with Manitou, himself. So enter unhindered, sit and listen until the hour grows late, while on the lodge-wall the dying fire makes the warning shadows dance.