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Acceptance and tolerance of people who are different is usually thought of as a more modern value, but in traditional Native American culture, this has always been an important belief. Even in tribes that normally maintained very rigid gender roles and social restrictions, exceptions were always a possibility; there were women who were allowed to live as men and become warriors in societies where it was otherwise unacceptable for women to do these things, clanless people who were able to achieve status in societies that ordinarily would have required a clan connection, and so on. Many traditional Native American legends likewise stress the importance of accepting everyone, particularly orphans, poor people, immigrants from another tribe, captives (or slaves, in tribes that practiced slavery), and people with various disabilities. It is a common for a hero with one of these disadvantages to end up saving his or her tribe in Native American legends. In folktales for children, an animal who is small, weak, or ugly sometimes similarly saves the day.
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