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Native American Wildcat Mythology

Wildcat plays a very negative role in the traditional stories of some tribes. He is greedy, selfish, and disregards social rules. A man who has a bad temper or acts like a jerk to women is called a "wildcat" in the Hopi language. In some Southwestern tribes, it is considered bad luck to see a wildcat. But in other tribes, such as the Mohave and Zuni tribes, Wildcat was believed to have hunting medicine. Zuni hunters kept stone effigies of wildcats as one of their six hunting fetishes, associating wildcats with the south and the color red. And in the Pawnee tribe, Wildcat is a more mythologically important character associated with the stars. Pawnee parents used to wrap their babies in wildcat furs to bring them celestial blessings.

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Wildcat is also used as a clan animal in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Wildcat Clans include the Creek (whose Wildcat Clan is named Koakotsalgi or Kowakkucvlke,) the Chippewa (whose Lynx Clan and its totem are called Bizhiw,) the Cahuilla, and the Chickasaw.

Native American Wildcat Gods and Spirits

Lucifee (Wabanaki)
Tokoch Kachina (Hopi)

Native American Legends About Wildcats

*Run, Rabbit, Run * Rabbit and the Wild-Cat:
    Mi'kmaq and Passamquoddy stories about Wild Cat being outwitted by the trickster Rabbit.
*The Wolf, the Fox, the Bobcat and the Cougar:
    Legend about a wildcat spirit that helped the Shoshone-Bannocks defeat the warlike Little People.
*Coyote Dives For Meat:
    Caddo legend about Wild-Cat getting the better of Coyote.
*Rabbit and the Dancing Turkeys:
    Caddo legend about Rabbit helping Wildcat to catch some gullible turkeys.

Recommended Books of Wildcat Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Coyote & Bobcat:
    Picture book based on a Navajo legend about the origins of Bobcat and Coyote.
Great Rabbit and the Long-Tailed Wildcat:
    Children's book illustrating an Algonquin legend about how Wildcat lost his tail.
The Story of Lynx:
    Anthropological text on the meaning and importance of Coyote and Wildcat spirits in Native American mythology.
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 bobcats.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.



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