The Trickster story type is a traditional Native American story form that is widespread across many Native American tribes and people. These stories are generally used to teach lessons to children, they also utilize to notion of "up to no good" to explain some of the natural occurring happenings and phenomenon. One of the most common trickster characters is Coyote who has sparked the interest of not only the Native American community, but many people throughout the world due to his cunning and sometimes unfortunate luck. (Erdoes and Ortiz 1998) Additionally, the characters of Iktomi the Spider-Man, Veeho, Rabbit, Skeleton Man, and Raven among others often take the role of the trickster, depending on the region of the tribe and other circumstances. Because some people lump all Native American stories and cultures together, and due to the fact that their proximity often allows for internal information sharing, these stories are often understood to have one large overarching meaning. While this project does highlight the "Native American" trickster stories, it is important to know that the stories used as examples in this project are not from the same traditions and have many dissimilarities.

Trickster stories are not limited to Native Americans, but Coyote and other trickster characters really take "center stage" and "spark the action." (Erdoes and Ortiz 1998) These trickster stories are not limited to just the success of the trickster, but often feature him failing to achieve what he desires, highlight the lesson that being deceitful does not always pay. (Thompson 1929)

What makes these trickster stories appropriate to study? What merit do they hold for not only the educational community but for anyone interested in enjoying a Coyote or trickster tale? One response is that anything that captivates enough people such as these Trickster stories does deserves a deep look. Another response is that because these stories are so widespread across numerous Native American cultures shows that they have some deeper importance that would be beneficial to discover. Any tradition that exists for multiple generations, even those that don't last that long, serve some sort of cultural function, otherwise they would never exist in the first place, so by understanding these stories and traditions one understands the culture and people a little bit more. (Foley 2002) The simplest yet most agreeable reason is that they are interesting and powerful, a seemingly flighty reason but a strong reason nonetheless. These entertaining stories are excellent teaching techniques used for hundreds of years.

"To Native Americans, the path of the Sacred Clown or "trickster" is considered a spiritual calling, essential to the smooth functioning of the tribe (Andreas, 1995).

External LinksEdit

  Twbtg2's Project on Native American Trickster Stories edit

Navigation: Twbtg2 - Abstract - Table of Contents - All Articles - Suggested Routes - Sources
Elements: Trickster story type - Coyote - List and maps of Native American tribes
Stories: The Coyote & The Prairie Dog - Coyote and Junco - Coyote and Turtle Story - Coyote Races Buffalo - Coyote Steals a Drink - Don't Be Too Curious - Rabbit's Short Tail
Approaches: Ethnopoetics - Performance Theory - Immanent Art - All
Sources: American Indian Trickster Tales - Calvin Grinnell Interview - A Coyote Reader - Coyote Stories - Finding the Center - How to Read an Oral Poem - Inconstant Companions - Tales of the North American Indians - The Telling of the World - All

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.