American Indian culture
History of Indian art
Native American Marten Mythology
Like their cousins the fishers,
martens are usually portrayed as brave heroes in Woodland Indian folklore (whereas weasels and
wolverines tend to play more negative roles.) In the Mi'kmaq tribe, Marten has an especially
important meaning as the first animal to give himself up as food to the human race; as a reward
for his sacrifice, the culture hero Glooskap resurrected Marten and adopted him as his brother.
In the Anishinabe tribes, martens are symbols of determination and skill at hunting.
In California Indian tribes, martens are considered lucky animals like other members of the weasel
family. And in Northwest Coast tribes like the Tlingit, martens are associated with sorcery and are
not eaten for that reason.
Martens are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with
Marten Clans include the Chippewa (whose Pine Marten Clan and its totem are named
Waabizheshi) and the Menominee.
Native American Marten Gods and Spirits
Uapishtan-napeu, the Martin Master (Innu)
Native American Legends About Martens
Nukumi and Fire: The Coming of Nukumi:
Wabanaki legends about Marten sacrificing himself to feed grandmother Nukumi and becoming the adopted brother of the culture hero Glooskap.
The Kidnapping of Glooskap's Family A Wizard Carries Off Glooscap's Housekeeper Glooskap and Winpe:
Three versions of a Mi'kmaq legend in which a giant kidnaps Glooskap's adopted brother Marten.
Recommended Books of Marten Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
How Marten Got His Spots:
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links
A good book of Indian Marten and Coyote stories produced by the Kootenai tribe.
Native American Animal Stories:
Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
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