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Native American Grasshopper Mythology

Grasshoppers are disliked in agricultural societies all over the world because fluctuations in their population can cause huge swarms of them to wipe out farmers' crops. This is also true in North America, and in the folklore of tribes that rely more heavily on agriculture, grasshoppers are often portrayed with all manner of character flaws such as greed, carelessness, untrustworthiness, etc. They are also associated with bad luck and discord, and in the Hopi tribe, they are sometimes said to bite the noses of children who disobey elders or violate taboos.

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On the other hand, tribes who primarily made their living as hunter-gatherers were rarely bothered by grasshoppers, and the insects do not have these negative connotations in their traditional stories. In some tribes, it was said that grasshoppers could predict the weather and even had power over changes in the weather (especially drought and rain.) And in Mexico, grasshoppers sometimes make an appearance in legends as... food! (Roasted crickets and grasshoppers were a traditional delicacy in many Mexican tribes, and are still enjoyed by some people there today.)

Native American Grasshopper Gods and Spirits

Grasshopper Girl (Navajo)

Native American Legends About Grasshoppers

*Abenaki Grasshopper Story:
    Abenaki legend about how grasshoppers were first created.
*Grasshopper and the Origin of Tobacco:
    A similar story from the Menominee tribe, in which Manabush punishes the stingy Grasshopper.
*The Grasshopper War:
    Lenape folktale about a war started by children quarreling over a grasshopper.

Recommended Books of Grasshopper Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Coyote and the Grasshoppers:
    Picture book illustrating a Pomo Indian myth about the importance of pests like grasshoppers.
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 grasshoppers.
Insect Mythology:
    Interesting book on the role of grasshoppers and other insects in world mythology, including Native North America and Mesoamerica.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.



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