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Native American Weasel Mythology

Weasels play a variety of roles in Native American folktales from different tribes. In some tribes, such as the Shoshone and Paiute, Weasel is a mischievous trickster spirit. In others, such as the Karuk and Hupa tribes of northern California, Weasel is a noble hero who uses his cleverness and magic powers to defeat monsters and villains.

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In Eastern Algonquian tribes such as the Abenaki, weasels were often associated with evil sorcerers; but in Plains tribes, they are associated with good medicine, particularly in their white winter phase, which has frequently been used to adorn the regalia of medicine men and chiefs. To the Blackfoot tribe, the changing colors of the weasel symbolize the cycle of life and death, making it a sacred animal. Weasels are associated with initiation into the midewiwin medicine society by some Anishinabe groups, and weasel skins were often used for medicine bags. In Northwest Coast tribes like the Tlingit, weasels are never eaten due to their association with sorcery. And in the Alaskan Athabaskan tribes, weasels are associated with wealth, and weasel tails are sometimes carried as a good luck charm.

Native American Weasel Gods and Spirits

Anixus (Karuk)
Sihkooseu (Cree)

Native American Legends About Weasels

*Women Who Married Star Husbands * The Adventures of Two Water Fairies Who Were Also Weasels:
    Mi'kmaq legends about two weasel-women who married stars, and their subsequent travels.
*A Weasel Story:
    Lenape story explaining why weasels are bloodthirsty.
*Why the Weasel Is Nervous:
    Cree legend of a trick Weasel played on Wesukechak.

Recommended Books of Weasel Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
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When Bear Stole the Chinook:
    Children's book illustrating a Blackfoot legend about how Weasel retrieved the warm spring wind from a powerful Bear.
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 weasels.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.

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