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Native American Auk and Puffin Mythology

"Auk" is actually the name of a large family of seabird species, including puffins, auklets, murres, murrelets, and dovekies (also known as little auks.) All of these different types of auks can be found in Alaska, and there are many species native to other parts of the Northwest Coast, Arctic, and the Maritimes. Puffins and other auks are most culturally important to the Inuit and the Native American tribes of coastal Alaska, where they are sometimes said to have power over storms and weather. Puffins and murres are especially important to the traditional religion of the Unangan (Aleut) tribe. Puffin skins, crests, and beaks were all used to make Aleut regalia.

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Puffins and auks are also used as clan animals in some Native Alaskan cultures, such as the Auk Clan of the Tlingit tribe. Auks or puffins are used as a clan crest in some Northwest Coast tribes, and can sometimes be found carved on totem poles.

Native American Legends About Puffins and Auks

*Story of the Puffin:
    Tlingit legend about a shipwrecked woman saved by the Puffin people.

Recommended Books of Auk and Puffin Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

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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