Beavers play a variety of roles in Native American folktales from different tribes. In some tribes, they
are portrayed as hardworking and persevering, but in others, they represent selfishness and stubbornness.
In some stories, Beaver causes floods or droughts by building dams without considering how they will
affect other animals. In some Athabaskan tribes of Alaska, Beaver is the culture hero, a benevolent
Transformer who uses his wits to slay monsters and shape the world to the benefit of the people.
Beavers symbolize wealth and hunting success in many Alaskan and other Northwest Coast tribes.
To the Blackfoot people, Beaver is a symbol of wisdom and is associated with the sacred pipe.
In the Cherokee tribe, Beaver played a more whimsical role, similar to the American tooth-fairy,
with young children surrendering baby teeth that have fallen out to Beaver along with a good-luck
Beavers are also common clan animals in many Native American cultures. Tribes with Beaver Clans
include the Muskogee Creek (whose Beaver Clan is named Itchhasualgi or Eccaswvlke,)
the Chippewa (whose Beaver Clan and its totem are called Amik,) the Menominee, the Abenaki, the
Caddo, the Mojave, the Huron and Iroquois tribes, and Northwest Coast tribes such as the Tlingit and Kwakiutl.
Beaver is an important clan crest on the Northwest Coast and can often be found carved on totem
poles. The Cherokee and Creek tribes also have a Beaver Dance
among their tribal dance traditions.
Native American Beaver Gods and Spirits
Amishkuapeu, the Beaver Master (Innu) Smart Beaver (Alaskan Athabaskan)