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Native American Heron Mythology

Native American Heron Gods and Spirits

Herons are symbols of good luck and patience in many Native American tribes. Especially on the Northwest Coast, if Native American fishermen see a heron, it is a good sign for a successful fishing trip. In folklore, however, Heron is often portrayed as a restless loner, probably because herons in nature are solitary creatures except during breeding times. Like cranes, Indian herons are also sometimes associated with vanity and a weakness for flattery.

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Herons are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Heron Clans include the Iroquois tribes and the Menominee (whose Great Blue Heron Clan and its totem are called Saqsakaew.)

Native American Legends About Herons

Algonquin Indian Heron Story:
    Algonquin legend about a heron's revenge on a wolf who had insulted him.
    Makah legend about the beginning of the world, including the origin of the first heron.

Recommended Books of Heron Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
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Birds of Algonquin Legend:
    Interesting collection of Native American legends about herons and other birds in Algonquian tribes.
Legends of the Crane:
    Collection of folklore and literature about cranes and herons from all over the world, including Native North America.
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:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.

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