Ella E. Clark,
Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest
(University of California Press, 1969)

If you enjoy reading Native American folklore stories, get yourself a copy of Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest. This book has 109 stories! My copy is an over-sized paperback with the price boldly displayed on the top right corner of the front cover: $1.95. In 1969, entertainment sure was cheap! It costs a little more today, but it is a folklore and entertainment jewel of astronomical value. It is well worth the effort to find it.

My only complaint with it is that they used a tiny print, obviously the only way to get so much information into such a limited space.

The stories are divided into five sections: "Myths of the Mountains," "Legends of the Lakes," "Tales of the River, Rocks & Waterfalls," "Myths of Creation, the Sky & Storms," and "Miscellaneous Myths & Legends." Each section begins with a short explanation of the Native American beliefs and storytelling traditions.

The stories were collected from a diverse group of tribes. I counted 33 different tribes, but there could be a couple more. The author often adds an introduction to the story which provides details about the tribe and their history or culture. Sometimes she notes a parallel to stories found in other cultures.

Of the collections of Native American stories that I have encountered, Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest has the most information and the stories in one volume.

Ella E. Clark became fascinated with Native American folklore while working as a fire lookout for the U.S. Forest Service in the Cascade Mountains. She is an English professor at the State College of Washington.

book review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

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