The Papago Indians of the American Southwest say butterflies were created to gladden the hearts of children and chase away thoughts of aging and death. How the Butterflies Came to Be is one of twenty-four Native American tales included in Native American Animal Stories. The stories, coming from Mohawk, Hopi, Yaqui, Haida and other cultures, demonstrate the power of animals in Native American traditions.
Parents, teachers and children will delight in lovingly told stories about "our relations, the animals." The stories come to life through magical illustrations by Mohawk artists John Kahionhes Fadden and David Fadden.
"The stories in this book present some of the basic perspectives that Native North American parents, aunts and uncles use to teach the young. They are phrased in terms that modern youngsters can understand and appreciate ... They enable us to understand that while birds and animals appear to be similar in thought processes to humans, that is simply the way we represent them in our stories. But other creatures do have thought processes, emotions, personal relationships...We must carefully ccord these other creatures the respect that they deserve and the right to live without unnecessary harm. Wanton killings of different animals by some hunters and sportsmen are completely outside the traditional way that native people have treated other species, and if these stories can help develop in young people a strong sense of the wonder of other forms of life, this sharing of Native North American knowledge will certainly have been worth the effort." —excerpt from the forward by Vine Deloria, Jr.
These stories first appeared in Keepers of the Animals: Native American Stories and Wildlife Activities for Children by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac
About the Author
Joseph Bruchac, coauthor of The Keepers of the Earth series, is a nationally acclaimed Native American storyteller, songwriter, poet and writer who has authored more than 70 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults and children. His work draws on his Abenaki, English and Slovak ancestry. A respect for ancestral roots parallels his belief in ecological and spiritual balance for the benefit of all living things. Bruchac has received several awards: NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, two New York State CAPS Poetry Fellowships, a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and the Cherokee Nation Prose award. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and two sons.
Read an Excerpt
"So it is to this day. Thought they dance as they fly, the butterflies are silent. But still, when the children see them, brightly dancing in the wind, their hearts are glad. That is how Elder Brother meant it to be."
"Their eyes are not our eyes yet we can see ourselves in them." from the poem Seeing the Animals by Joseph Bruchac.
What People are Saying About This
"Offers wonderful read-aloud material for parents who want to teach their children to revere the Earth." —Los Angeles Times Book Review
"24 myths from 19 peoples [show] Bruchac's tribute to nature, to his Native American heritage, and to his powerful gift of communication." —BookPage
"The tales have a directness and rhythm that's great for reading aloud and storytelling." —Booklist
"A rich collection of uplifting Native American stories." —Joseph Cornell, author of Sharing Nature with Children, Listening to Nature and Sharing the Joy of Nature