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Native American Alligator Mythology

Alligators tend to play the role of dangerous and stupid villains in most Native American folklore, often being outwitted by weaker but cleverer characters such as Rabbit. In some folktales, Native American alligator spirits are sent to attack people or spy on them by evil sorcerers. But in a few Southeastern tales, Alligator plays a more benevolent role, sharing his hunting power with humans who treat him respectfully. The Muskogee (Creek) tribe and their relatives the Seminoles even have an Alligator Clan as one of their major clans (called Halpadalgi or Vlpvtvlke in the Creek language.) Some southeastern tribes, such as the Caddo and the Seminole, also have an Alligator Dance among their tribal dance traditions.

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Native American Legends About Alligators

The Alligator and the Hunter * The Poor Hunter and the Alligator Power:
    Southeastern Indian legends about an alligator who repaid a hunter's kindness by giving him alligator medicine.
*Acawai Flood Myth:
    South American legend explaining why alligators have no tongues.

Recommended Books of Alligator Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Alligator Tales:
    Interesting collection of Florida folklore about alligators, including four Seminole Indian legends.
Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies:
    Book by a Karuk elder about the meanings of Indian animal spirits, including a chapter on alligators.
Native American Animal Stories:
    American Indian stories about alligators and other animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.



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