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Native American Flicker Mythology

The bright red markings of flickers are associated with fire, and in the Native American legends of northern California and Oregon, Flicker sometimes features as a medicine character with powers over fire. Like other members of the woodpecker family, flickers (also known as flicker birds) are considered lucky birds and are associated with friendship and happiness. In particular, yellow-shafted flickers or yellowhammers are believed to bring good luck and healing; hearing their cries means that you will soon receive a visitor, and in some Northern California tribes, dreaming of a yellowhammer is the sign that a person will become a traditional healer. The Hopi see the flicker as a directional guardian, associated with the south.

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The flicker is also used as a clan animal in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Flicker Clans include the Tlingit.

Native American Flicker Gods and Spirits

Ulikwąn (Lenape)

Native American Legends About Flickers

*The Story of the Maple Tree * Woodpecker and the Sugar Maple:
    Lenape Indian legend telling how Woodpecker and Flicker learned to peck trees.
*Flicker Describes Himself:
    Description of Flicker from Apache mythology.

Recommended Books of Flicker Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

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 flickerbirds.
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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