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Native American Fox Mythology

Foxes play a variety of roles in Native American mythology from different tribes. In some Southwestern tribes and many tribes of Mexico, Fox is the irreverant trickster character more often portrayed by Coyote in North American folklore.

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In some tribes of Northern California, Silver Fox is a wise and benevolent Creator god. In other tribes, such as the Blackfoot and Apache, Fox is associated with fire and the sun, and according to some myths, it was Fox who stole fire to bring to the people. The Arapahos associate Kit Fox with the sacred pipe. In the Northeast, Midwest and Plains tribes, Fox is generally a minor animal spirit associated with intelligence and wisdom, who occasionally help people or animals to solve a problem or punishes somebody careless or arrogant. Among Quechua and other Andean Indians, Fox appears frequently in folktales as a thief and greedy scoundrel, and seeing a fox is usually considered a bad omen in those cultures.

Foxes are common clan animals in many Native American cultures. Tribes with Fox Clans include the Creek (whose Fox Clan is named Tsulalgi or Culvlke,) the Menominee, and the Hopi. In the Hopi tribe, fox skins are also used as dance regalia by kachina dancers and as kiva adornments during ceremonies. The Kit Fox Society (also known as the Swift Fox Warriors) was one of the major warrior societies of the Blackfoot tribe and is still an important organization today.

Native American Fox Gods and Spirits

Fox-Woman (Anishinabe/Cree)
Letaiyo Kachina (Hopi)
Memekueshu, the Fox Master (Innu)
Silver Fox (Northern California tribes)

Native American Legends About Foxes

The Hungry Fox and the Boastful Suitor:
    Iroquois Indian story about Fox making a fool out of a boastful man.
*The Wolf, the Fox, the Bobcat and the Cougar:
    Native American legend about a fox spirit that helped the Shoshone-Bannocks defeat the warlike Little People.
Iyash and Old Lady Fox:
    Severn Ojibwe legend about a hero passing a strange test to earn the advice of a wise Fox-Woman.
*A Fox Tale:
    Menominee legend about Fox tricking Wolf out of some maple sugar.
*Turkey Buzzard and the Sun:
    Lenape legend telling why Fox has a black mouth.
*Weesakaychak and the Ducks:
    Cree legends about Fox tricking the Trickster out of a meal.
*The Foundling Who Was Befriended By Wolves:
    Cree legend about a boy who won the hand of a chief's daughter by outwitting a pair of clever foxes.
*Fox and Monkey:
    Aymara story about two trickster animals.

Recommended Books of Fox Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
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Mother Fox and Mr. Coyote:
    Children's book illustrating a Fox story from Mexico about a fox mother using her wits to save her family.
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 foxes.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about foxes and other animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.

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