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Native American Stories About Sharing

Stories about the importance of sharing are common all over the world (since this is a lesson children in any culture need to be taught at some point!) But they are especially prevalent in Native American stories. Most Native American tribes were communal in nature, and individuals who did not share what they had or help others who needed it were endangering the welfare of the entire community. This was especially true of hunters, who were usually expected to share the game they caught with their tribe, especially with their own family and in-laws. Stingy hunters and monsters who try to hoard natural resources are usually dealt with harshly in Native American folklore.

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Legends About Sharing

The Water Famine: * How Gluskabe Stole Tobacco:
    The Abenaki-Penobscot culture hero, Gluskabe, teaches that nature's gifts belong to all people.
*Manabozho and the Theft of Fire:
    Native American legends about tricksters stealing fire from beings that refused to share it with the people.
*Izignapogos, the Half-Stone Man:
    Maliseet story about Gluskabe punishing a giant for refusing to share meat.
*The Creator Visits:
    Micmac story about the Creator blessing a poor family for sharing their food with strangers.
*The Flying Canoe:
    Passamaquoddy story in which a crippled old lady gives wondrous gifts to a man who shared food with her.
The Travails of Mrs. Bear:
    Legends from several tribes about villains being caught cheating blind people out of their share of food.
The Badger and the Bear:
    Lakota legend about a greedy bear punished for turning on a badger who had shared food with him in his time of need.
*Kamaisani, the stingy one:
    South American Indian legend about a woman ostracized for refusing to share with her family.
    Story from a Cree elder illustrating the traditional value of sharing what you have with others.
*The Sacred Weed * A Tobacco Legend:
    Blackfoot legends about the importance of sharing the gift of tobacco.
*Blue Jay And Lizard And The Grizzly-Bears:
    California Indian legend about the destruction of a family of selfish grizzly bears who refused to share food fairly.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Turtle's Race With Beaver:
    Charming picture book illustrating a Seneca legend about Beaver learning a lesson about sharing with other animals.
Nanabosho, Soaring Eagle, and the Great Sturgeon:
    A nice retelling of a Chippewa Indian legend about two selfish fishermen learning to share.

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