Indian languages * American Indian cultures * American Indian artists

  * Find Native American ancestors in your family tree

Native American Stories About Respect for Nature

Respect for nature is an important theme in Native American stories. Indeed, respect for nature is important in the mythology of all pre-industrial societies that depend on the natural world for their living.

Legends About Respect for Nature

*Arrowhead Finger:
    Story about a Penobscot heroine who respected plants and became a great herbalist.
*Nukumi and Fire: * The Coming of Nukumi:
    Mi'kmaq legends showing how the animals sacrificed themselves to sustain people, and therefore must be respected.
The Water Famine: * How Gluskabe Stole Tobacco:
    The Abenaki-Penobscot culture hero, Gluskabe, teaches that nature's gifts belong to all people.
Gluscabi and the Wind Eagle * Why We Need Wind * The Bird whose Wings Made the Wind:
    Wabanaki legends in which Gluskabe discovers the importance of wind to the ecosystem.
*The Story of Redfeather:
    Chippewa Indian legend about boy punished by Owl for his disrespect of the birds.
*Porcupine's Revenge:
    Menominee legend about Porcupine punishing two disrespectful girls.
Brother Crow and Brother Buffalo:
    Shawnee legend about how Crow taught hunters to respect the buffalo.
*Bitter Spirit and the Stone:
    Swampy Cree legend about a rock punishing the trickster hero for disrespecting it.
*Grandmother's Creation Story:
    Cree legend about the importance of respecting the animals.
*The Revenge of the Mountain Goats:
    Cree legend about a group of hunters punished for their cruelty and disrespect towards their prey.
*Cipayak, the Northern Lights:
    Cree legend about a disrespectful youth who offended the Northern Lights.
*Humility:
    Oral history from a Cree elder illustrating the importance of hunting respectfully.
*Yellowstone Valley and the Great Flood:
    Native American myth about a flood sent to punish people who were not living in harmony with nature.
*The Flood:
    Caddo legend about a nature spirit that punished the people with a flood for desecrating dead animals.
*The Boy Who Married A Mountain Lion:
    Caddo legend about a man who was punished for his brother's disrespect for the animal spirits.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

A Man Called Raven:
    Wonderfully illustrated book by a Native author and artist illustrating a Northwest Coast legend about respect for nature.
Sunpainters: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun:
    Beautiful book by a Navajo artist about an elderly man teaching his grandson to respect nature and the Earth.
Mwakwa Talks to the Loon:
    Delightful picture book illustrating a Cree legend about Loon teaching the people to hunt and fish responsibly.
Salmon Boy:
    Good telling of a Sechelt Indian story about a boy who teaches his tribe to respect the ways of the Salmon People.
Buffalo Woman:
    Picture book based on a classic Plains Indian legend about the respectful relationship between people and buffalo.
Eagle Boy:
    Northwest Coast Indian legend about humans and eagles learning to cooperate.
Heetunka's Harvest:
    Children's storybook based on Dakota legends about the punishment of a woman who disrespects a mouse.
*Mouse Woman and the Mischief Makers * Mouse Woman and the Muddleheads * Mouse Woman and the Vanished Princesses :
    Lively retellings of three Haida legends about a mouse goddess who teaches the people proper behavior and respect for nature.
Whale Snow:
    Children's book depicting the respect for whales in traditional Inuit culture.
Efraín of the Sonoran Desert: A Lizard's Life Among the Seri Indians:
    A heartwarming children's story about the respectful relationship between zebra-tailed lizards and the Seri tribe.



Back to American Indian legends



American Indian genealogy * Indian jewelry * Kikapoo * Pit River lodge * American Indian tattoos

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?

Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015 * Contacts and FAQ page