Indian language * American Indian culture * Totem pole art

Native American Insects of Myth and Legend

Insects play a wide variety of different roles in the mythology of Native American tribes. Generally speaking, Native American traditions tend to have very negative perceptions of swarming insects, biting insects, and (in agricultural societies) crop-destroying insects, associating them with disease, evil witchcraft, and bad luck. On the other hand, like other small animals, insects often appear in legends to symbolize meekness and humility, two positive traits valued by most Native American cultures. And spiders, though not technically insects, have great spiritual importance to many Native Americans, particularly the Osage tribe and the tribes of the American Southwest.

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Native American Insect Mythology In Various Tribes (Including Arachnids)

Ant folklore
Bee folklore
Beetle folklore
Blowfly folklore
Butterfly folklore
Caterpillar folklore
Cockroach folklore
Cricket folklore
Dragonfly folklore
Fly folklore
Grasshopper folklore
Inchworm folklore
Katydid folklore
Mosquito folklore
Moth folklore
Spider folklore
Tick folklore
Woodworm folklore

List of Native American Insect Gods and Spirits

Ant People (Hopi)
Big Fly (Navajo)
Grandmother Spider (Hopi)
Grasshopper Girl (Navajo)
Iktome (Sioux)
Mastop, the Death Fly (Hopi)
Mok Chi' (Maya)
Nihansan (Arapaho)
Nihant (Gros Ventre)
Palhik Mana (Hopi)
Spider-Woman (Navajo)
Vihio (Cheyenne)

Native American Legends About Insects

*The End of the First World:
    Hopi myths about the World Fire, including the story of how the survivors took shelter with the Ant People.
The Spider and the People:
    Osage legend about the importance of the spider.
*The Spider Woman and the Twins:
    Hopi legend about the birth of Spider Grandmother and her first creations.
*Spider Rock:
    Legends about the Navajo Indian goddess Spider Woman teaching the people to weave and rescuing a lost Navajo boy.
*How Daylight Came To Be:
    Salishan legend about how Ant Woman won daytime from the Creator.
*How Gluskabe Stole Tobacco: * Grasshopper and the Origin of Tobacco:
    Algonquian stories about how grasshoppers were created.
Creator and the Butterflies:
    Tohono O'odham legend about the origin of butterflies.
*The Bee King and the Snake's Daughters:
    Ioway insect legend about a bee hero who slew two serpent monsters.
Hopi Beetle Story:
    Hopi Indian legend about how the black beetles brought rain to the land.
Lepidoptera in the Mythology of Native Americans:
    Article about the importance of butterflies and moths to Native American cultures.
*A Lenape Butterfly Legend:
    Traditional story about the Creator's gift of butterflies.
*Diegueno Indian Fly Story:
    Kumeyaay legend about how Fly caused the origin of death.
*The Grasshopper War:
    Lenape folktale about a war started by children quarreling over a grasshopper.
The Katydid's Warning:
    Cherokee legend about the dangers of sneering at the meek.
The Ants and the Katydids:
    American Indian insect story about responsibility and hard work.
Coyote Kills A Giant:
    Navajo legend telling how the wood tick got his flat shape.
The Tick and the Deer:
    Salish Indian legend about the origin of deer ticks.

Recommended Books of American Indian Insect Stories
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Insect Mythology:
    Interesting book on the role of insects in world mythology, including Native North America and Mesoamerica.
Coyote and the Grasshoppers:
    Picture book for kids illustrating a Pomo myth about the importance of insect pests.
Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies:
    Book about Indian animal spirit meanings, including a chapter on insects.

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