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Native American Cardinal Mythology

Cardinals (also known as redbirds) are considered good omens in many southeastern tribes. The Cherokee associate cardinals with the sun, and one Cherokee myth describes the first Redbird as the daughter of the sun. Some Cherokees also believed that redbirds could predict the weather. The Ojibwe admire the cardinal as an alert, watchful bird. Some Pueblo tribes see the cardinal as a directional guardian, associated with the south. The Aikimel O'odham (Pima) associate cardinals with lightning, and believe that they can predict rain.

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Native American Legends About Cardinals

Red Bird Story:
    Cherokee Indian legend about the cardinal, in Cherokee and English.
*The Bird Tribes:
    Cherokee legend about the creation and symbolism of the redbird and other birds.
How Mockingbird Became The Best Singer:
    Maya legend telling why cardinals cannot sing well.
The Thunder Nation and the Eagle:
    Cherokee legend about the powers given by Eagle to Red-Bird and other birds.

Recommended Books of Cardinal Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Birds of Algonquin Legend:
    Interesting collection of Native American legends about cardinals and other birds in Algonquian tribes.
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 cardinals or redbirds.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Flights of Fancy: Birds in Myth, Legend, and Superstition:
    A good book on the role of birds in world mythology, including North and South America.



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