Rattlesnakes tend to be viewed negatively in Native American cultures, frequently associated
with violence and revenge. In some tribes rattlesnakes were
viewed as both powerful and dangerous, and were associated with witchcraft.
In other tribes they enforce taboos, and children are warned not to
break rules or customs because rattlesnakes may bite them. In legends, rattlesnakes sometimes
appear as divine punishment to wreak vengeance on sinful people or their families, or as
agents of an angry witch. In the mythology of some southwestern tribes, Rattlesnake was the
first creature to bring death into the world by means of its poison, although usually the snake
was described as either defending itself from attacks or avenging itself for past abuse.
Rattlesnakes are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Rattlesnake
Clans include the Chippewa (whose Rattlesnake Clan and its totem are called Zhiishiigwe or
Midewewe,) the Zuni (whose Rattlesnake Clan name is Chitola-kwe,) and other Pueblo tribes of