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Native American Stories About Hard Work

The value of working hard and not complaining about it is something that is extolled in the religions, literature, and children's stories of every culture in the world, and Native American cultures are no exception. This theme is especially common in Native American teaching stories for children, in which trickster animals get themselves into all kinds of trouble while trying to avoid work and children are often able to escape from ogres and other monsters through industrious efforts and teamwork. In Native American stories aimed at adults, the laziness of tricksters is more nuanced-- their aversion to hard work is often derided by other characters and mocked by the storytellers, but at the same time no one can help but admire their ingenuity in escaping from their responsibilities.

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Legends About Hard Work

Gluskabe Changes Maple Syrup * Gluskabe the Transformer * How the Indians Got Maple Sugar * When Living Was Easy:
    Abenaki and Chippewa myths about the culture hero teaching the people the value of hard work.
The Badger and the Bear:
    Lakota legend of a hard-working badger whose hospitality is abused by an aggressive bear, until a spirit warrior delivers justice.
*Why The Mouse Is So Silky:
    Swampy Cree legend about the culture hero rewarding mice for their industriousness.
*Cleanliness: * Respect:
    Oral history from Cree and Dene elders illustrating the traditional value of hard work.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Rabbit and the Well:
    Children's book based on a Cherokee legend about the trickster Rabbit trying to steal water instead of working to build a well.
Shingebiss: An Ojibwe Legend:
    Children's book depicting a Native folktale about a persevering merganser duck.
Mole's Hill: A Woodland Tale:
    Charming picture book based on a Seneca legend about an industrious mole saving his home from larger animals.



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