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Native American Mudhen (Coot) Mythology

Coot plays the role of Earth-Diver in some Native American tribes, being the only animal to succeed at diving to the ocean floor to bring up earth for the Creator or culture hero to make the world with.

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Coots, also known as mudhens, are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Coot Clans include the Menominee tribe (whose Coot Clan is named Kihkih.)

Native American Legends About Coots

Kawaiisu Flood Myth:
    Legend of the Kawaiisu tribe of California, in which Coot dives for dirt to help Coyote rebuild the earth after a flood.
*Waynaboozhoo and the Great Flood:
    Version of the Ojibwe creation story in which Mudhen (Coot) retrieves land for the culture hero Nanabozho.

Recommended Books of Coot Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Remaking The Earth: A Creation Story from the Great Plains of North America:
    Picture book based on Cheyenne and Blackfoot Indian creation myths in which Coot takes on the role of Earth-diver.
Birds of Algonquin Legend:
    Interesting collection of Native American legends about coots and other birds in Algonquian tribes.
Flights of Fancy: Birds in Myth, Legend, and Superstition:
    A good book on the meaning of birds in world mythology, including Native North America.
Native American Animal Stories:
    American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.



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