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Native American Kingfisher Mythology

Kingfishers play a variety of different roles in the folklore of different Native American tribes. To the Northwest Coast Indians, Kingfisher is generally viewed positively, as a messenger and a sign of good luck to come. In Makah legends, however, a human thief was punished by being transformed into the first kingfisher. In the Siouan tribes, Kingfisher is associated with fertility. Most often, Kingfisher appears in traditional stories as a proficient hunter, whose success cannot be duplicated by careless imitators.

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Kingfishers are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Kingfisher Clans include the Ojibwe (whose Kingfisher Clan and its totem are named Ogiishkimanisii.)

Native American Legends About Kingfishers

*Why Kingfisher Wears A War Bonnet:
    Blackfoot story about how Kingfisher got his head feathers.
*Chippewa Indian Kingfisher Story:
    Chippewa legend about the origin of the kingfisher bird.
*Fish-Hawk and the Sun's Daughter:
    California Indian legend about Kingfisher finding the Sun's lost daughter.
*Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things:
    Makah legend about the beginning of the world, including the origin of the first kingfisher.

Recommended Books of Kingfisher Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Birds of Algonquin Legend:
    Interesting collection of folklore about Indian kingfishers and other birds in Algonquian tribes.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Flights of Fancy: Birds in Myth, Legend, and Superstition:
    A good book on the meaning of birds in world mythology, including North and South America.



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