Indigenous languages * Indigenous cultures * Totem poles

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.

Sponsored Links

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
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Birds of Algonquin Legend:
    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.

Back to Native animal meanings
Back to our folk tales database
Back to Sea monster legends

Indian genealogy * Ojibwa nation * Indian baby names * Native American culture art * Native tattoo

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?

Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2020 * Contacts and FAQ page