Native American Osprey Mythology
Ospreys are considered a type of eagle in many Native American tribes, and are accorded the same
respect bald and golden eagles are. In coastal tribes where ospreys are most commonly seen, they
sometimes play 'police' or guardian roles in traditional legends, and seeing one is sometimes
considered to be a warning of danger to come. In other legends, Fish-Hawk (Osprey) is a character
noted for his pride or even arrogance. The
Nez Perce considered Fish-Hawk a medicine bird, and seeing an osprey in a dream or vision was
a sign that a man had been granted spiritual power as a healer.
Ospreys are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with
Osprey Clans include the Menominee tribe (whose Fish-Hawk Clan is named Penekekonaew).
Native American Legends About Ospreys or Fish-Hawks
Fish-Hawk and Scapegrace:
Micmac legend about an overly proud fish-hawk being caught in a lie.
Fish-Hawk and the Sun's Daughter:
California Indian legend about Osprey teaching Sun a lesson.
Recommended Books of Osprey Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
Birds of Algonquin Legend:
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Interesting collection of legends about ospreys and other birds in Algonquian tribes.
Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies:
Book by a Karuk elder about the meanings of Indian animal spirits, including a chapter on ospreys/fishhawks.
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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