Grouse are rarely referred to directly in older recordings of Native American legends.
This is probably because the English and early American people who translated their
words became confused and identified the birds as "partridge" instead. Partridge
are not native to North America and were not introduced here until the early 1900's,
so it's likely that most of these stories were in fact referring to grouse or quail, types
of birds which are common in North America. In particular, one of our Mi'kmaq
volunteers identified the Mi'kmaq hero Pulowech (usually translated as "Partridge")
as actually being a ruffed grouse, and the name of the Passamaquoddy character
Mitchihess (also called a "partridge") probably comes from the Passamaquoddy
word for "grouse," Mochiyehs.
Grouse are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with
Grouse Clans include the Chippewa tribe (whose Grouse Clan and its totem are called Aagask)
and the Prairie Chicken clans of the Mandan and Hidatsa. Grouse is used as a clan crest
in some Northwest Coast tribes, such as the Tsimshian, and can occasionally
be found carved on totem poles.