The Myths of the North American Indians
By Lewis Spence
The myths and legends of the Algonquins, Iroquois, Pawnees, Sioux, and northern and northwestern Indians offer rich insights into the character and beliefs of the tribes that once dominated extensive territories of North America. The distinguished British anthropologist and folklorist Lewis Spence has collected many of the most interesting and compelling of these myths and presented them here according to ethnic grouping, prefacing the collection with important historical and ethnological information that will give the reader an accurate view of the conditions under which these fascinating tribal cultures once flourished.
The myths range in theme from steadfast love to rivalry between warriors to victory over powerful forces, and in their unfolding lie powerful images of the innermost fears and aspirations that motivated the behavior of Algonquin, Iroquois, Pawnees, Sioux, and northwestern Indians alike. Lewis Spence relates each tale in a simple, direct way that will appeal to children as well as to adults.
The book includes photographs and drawings that depict various tribes in their typical costumes and dwellings. It contains as well a map of the geographical areas where primary language families were spoken. This fascinating book, a major forerunner of modern studies of myth, combines an appealing presentation of Indian legend with factual and illustrative material that gives each myth meaningful perspective. Students of anthropology and ethnology will enjoy the especially rich variety of mythical imagery in this generous collection, and general readers in search of a good story for themselves and for their children will find in these pages a treasury of suspenseful tales that reveal much of the spirit of North America's original cultures.