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Native American Seagull Mythology

Seagulls play a variety of roles in the folklore of different tribes. In some cases, seagulls are antagonists criticized for their noisy, aggressive, and greedy behavior. In others, they are noted for their endurance and perseverence. In some Northwest Coast tribes, Seagull was said to have powers over storms and weather.

Seagulls are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Seagull Clans include the Ahtna tribe and the Chippewa tribe (whose Gull Clan and its totem are called Gayaashk.) Seagull is used as a clan crest in some Northwest Coast tribes (especially the Nuu-chah-nulth), and can sometimes be found carved on totem poles.

Native American Legends About Seagulls

*The Seagull and the Whiskey Jacks:
    Chapleau Cree story about the difference between seagulls and gray jays.
*Mashkussuts:
    Innu legend about a wily seagull who saved two bear children by slaying a cannibal monster.

Recommended Books of Seagull Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Birds of Algonquin Legend:
    Interesting collection of legends about gulls 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 seagulls.
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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