' Native American Indian Ant Legends, Meaning and Symbolism from the Myths of Many Tribes

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Native American Ant Mythology

The industriousness and cooperative spirit of ants sometimes features in Native American folktales, as it does in the folklore of many cultures around the world. In some southwestern tribes, ants played a more important mythological role-- in the Cahuilla creation myth, it was ants who spread the earth out for people ant animals to live upon, and in Hopi mythology, it was the Ant People who sheltered humans underground during the destruction of the First World. In northern California tribes, ants were said to predict earthquakes, and it was considered taboo to disturb their nests. In South America, ants are more often portrayed as warriors in Indian legends, probably because of the painful sting inflicted by South American fire ants, and some Native South American initiation rites involve young people subjecting themselves to ant bites.

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Ants are not a common clan animal, but there are some southwestern tribes with Ant Clans, including the Hopi, Pueblo, and Akimel O'odham (Pima) tribes. Ant groupings were particularly important among the Pimas, where the people of every Pima village used to be divided into one Red Ant Clan and one White Ant Clan. The Cherokee also have an Ant Dance among their tribal dance traditions.

Native American Ant Gods and Spirits

Ant People (Hopi)

Native American Legends About Ants

*The End of the First World:
    Hopi Indian myths about the World Fire, including the story of how the survivors took shelter with the Ant People.
*How Daylight Came To Be: Ant and Bear:
    Salishan Indian legend about how Ant Woman won daytime from the Creator.
*The Ant Story-Teller:
    A short, humorous Native American folktale about Ant's brief career as a storyteller.

Recommended Books of Ant Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
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Rat Is Dead And Ant Is Sad:
    Picture book illustrating a Pueblo Indian legend about how rumors can spread.
Insect Mythology:
    Interesting book on the role of ants and other insects in world mythology, including Native North America and Mesoamerica.
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 ants.
Native American Animal Stories:
    A great children's collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.

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