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Native American Stories About Arrogance

Arrogance is a despised trait in most cultures, and in Native American folklore, arrogant behavior is routinely mocked and punished. In actual Native American traditional culture, there were several contexts in which it was considered perfectly acceptable to boast-- in many tribes warriors sing songs or narrate stories about their own exploits, for example, and traditional courtship rituals in some tribe included a lot of self-promotion-- but these situations are rarely depicted in legends. Even a character who brags about deeds he genuinely accomplished is setting himself up for a bad end in the tales of most tribes.

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Legends About Arrogance

Raccoon and the Waterfall:
    Abenaki story about Azban the Raccoon paying the price for his arrogance.
*The Mother of Serpents:
    Passamaquoddy stories about a haughty woman giving birth to the first snakes.
*The Owl Husband:
    Passamaquoddy story of an arrogant girl who rejects all her suitors and ends up the wife of Owl.
Why Opossum's Tail is Bare:
    Cherokee legend about Opossum being punished for his arrogance.
*Turtle Plays Football:
    Maliseet legend about the culture hero Glooskap teaching his cocky uncle a lesson.
How the Gopher Raced with the Runners of K'iákime:
    Zuni legend about a wise gopher punishing an arrogant tribe by defeating them in a running race.
*Cipayak, the Northern Lights:
    Cree legend about an arrogant youth who offended the Northern Lights.
*Kichimitaw, the Great Shaman:
    Audio recordings of a Cree elder relating a folktale warning people not to be arrogant.
*Legend of the Crazy Dog Society:
    Blackfoot myth about a self-important and immoral war chief shown up by his brave nephew.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Turtle's Race With Beaver:
    Delightful picture book illustrating a Seneca legend about Beaver learning not to be arrogant about his abilities.
Raccoon's Last Race:
    Children's book telling an Abenaki legend about Raccoon paying the price for his arrogance and untrustworthiness.
The Opossum's Tale:
    Another good book based on a Cherokee legend about an arrogant opossum learning a lesson.

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