For the Month of May we will be working with a few Native American Tricksters and other Tricksters in myth and legend. Tricksters reminds us to laugh at ourselves and not take life to seriously. In American Indian tales and legends, the “Trickster” can be several characters. Often he is Coyote, but Coyote has friends who are sometimes tricksters too. There is Raven, Blue Jay, Beaver, Iktome, (the Spider man), The Great Rabbit, fox and Mink. There are also human tricksters.. Wasichu, a sharp trader, the Old Man of the Blackfoot and Crow. Even Whisky Jack takes his turn playing the prankster and troublemaker.
We focus this month on different tricksters and their qualities. Sometimes the Trickster is clever, other times he is stupid. He is always chasing after pretty women. He will cheat if it serves his purposes. He lies, steals and rebels against the rules. He is a prankster and full of paradox. Sometimes he is the creator, sometimes he is a hero who saves the day.
In our first tale, which comes from the White River Sioux, Coyote is the trickster who learns the hard way about the rules of the Giveaway. The second week we’ll be working with Br’er Rabbit. Rabbit is a trickster animal among Native Americans, but this story migrated to the Americas from Africa, however Michelle and I have both loved this story since we were kids – so Br’er Rabbit it is! There is also a Native American story called, “Coyote fights a Lump of Pitch” which is told by the White Mountain Apache. It is very similar to Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby. You can find it posted with the rest of our tales. (You’ll find it as a sub-category of Br’er Rabbit) The third week we’ll explore a tale about Raven which comes from the Pacific Northwest and the fourth week we’ll feature (Iktome (Spider).