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“In the Beginning all Wisdom was with the Animals”– Exploring Native American Myths

  • 13/09/2022
  • 19:30-21:00
  • Online talk

“In the Beginning all Wisdom was with the Animals”– Exploring Native American Myths

Online talk by Rosalind Kerven, author and independent researcher

Tuesday 13 September 2022, 19:30-21:00

Native American and Canadian First Nations mythology includes some of the world’s most interesting and memorable narratives. They offer a totally refreshing–sometimes startling–perspective of the natural world and the numerous species which share it with us. One of their most significant concepts is that the boundaries between humans and animals are totally fluid. Myths depict people interacting with a huge variety of different creatures–ranging from bears, coyotes, eagles and ravens, through snakes and fish, to spiders and even mosquitoes.

Presented with respect and gratitude to the original indigenous storytellers and their descendants, this talk is based on the author’s three years’ intensive research for her acclaimed book, Native American Myths collected 1636–1919. It is based on examination of around 2,000 archived ancient stories, drawn from 130 different peoples. It will explore memorable myths from across the North American continent, covering three key themes:

1. Animals’ general perception of humans as expressed in the myths, with particular reference to human exploitation of them.

2. Animal ‘sacred tricksters’ – their creative powers and their roles in setting ethical norms.

3. The ability of animals to shape-shift backwards and forwards between animal and human forms, and how this facilitates cross-species marriage and child fostering.

The talk will conclude with an oral rendering of a dramatic ‘animal marriage’ myth from Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico, The Youth and his Eagle. This also illustrates other elements common in Native American mythology: a journey to the Sky World, concepts of death and a strong moral slant.

Tickets £5.00 (£3.00 Folklore Society members with Promo Code: log in to the Members’ Only area to find the Promo Code): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/in-the-beginning-all-wisdom-was-with-the-animals-tickets-275540698647

Every ticket sold helps to support the work of The Folklore Society