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Native American Shrew Mythology

Shrews play several different roles in Native American folklore. In some legends, Shrew appears as a small but brave animal which succeeds where others fail, much as mice often do. It is two shrews that steal fire for the people in Miwok legends, for example. In Inuit (Eskimo) legends, Raven creates shrews as an act of cheerful whimsy-- similar to butterflies in more southerly climates-- simply because he felt the earth needed something small and lively living on it. On the other hand, Native people in many other tribes dislike shrews for their aggressive and sneaky nature and consider it bad luck to have one in the house.

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Native American Legends About Shrews

*Raven the Creator:
    Part of the Inuit creation myth in which Raven creates shrews to enliven the earth.

Recommended Books of Shrew Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies:
    Book by a Karuk elder about the meaning of Indian animal spirits, including a chapter on shrews.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.



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