LITERATURE

Trickster Tales of Southeastern Native Americans: Stories from the Creek, Natchez, Seminole, Catawba, Cherokee and Other Nations

McFarland Jun. 2023. 200p. ISBN 9781476691305. pap. $29.95. LIT
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Norton (Cherokee Myths and Legends) has produced a collection of trickster tales from Indigenous cultures in the Southeastern U.S., including Creek, Natchez, Cherokee, and Catawba; chapters are arranged by cultural origin. The introduction provides a context for the trickster tradition. An interesting feature is the interweaving of stories between Indigenous and African American traditions, as both traditions employ trickster rabbits. Readers will find narratives featuring foxes, possums, turkeys, people, terrapins, and others. For instance, there is a Creek telling of Rabbit outwitting both Rattlesnake and Gnat; a Catawba story of Rabbit stealing fire from Buzzard; and a Cherokee tale about Terrapin outsmarting a Wolf council and escaping their punishment. The title includes appendixes that discuss the provenance of these stories, the early 20th-century efforts to collect these traditions, and Norton’s methodology for presenting these tales. The author also provides historical sketches of the Indigenous nations included in the book and discusses various perspectives on the retelling of their stories by non-Indigenous people.
VERDICT This fine collection of Indigenous stories from Southeastern U.S. tribes adds a cultural depth to folklore collections, fitting for both scholarly anthropology as well as for use in classrooms.
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