Stories and Songs from Native America

Life for the Indian is one of harmony with nature and the things which surround him. The Indian tried to fit in with nature and to understand, not to conquer or rule. Life was a glorious thing, for great contentment comes with the feeling of friendship and kinship with the living things about you.
– Standing Bear, Lakota.

I have found great delight in narrating Native American stories. These stories seems to bring forth the inter-connectedness of life and thereby a sense of oneness. Over the years, I have found several beautiful stories. I share many of them with you here. I hope that you and your children enjoy it as much as I did 🙂
(P.S. : I find that these stories and songs can work across grades 2 to 4)

  1. Legend of the Indian Paintbrush – Retold and Illustrated by Tomie DePaola
    This story is about courage and pursuing your own truth. A boy with a physique not built for fighting, finds his true calling in painting . This is a story of Little Gopher, being guided by the Great Spirit in the quest for bringing the beauty of the sunset-sky to his people through painting.

  2. Legend of the Bluebonnet – Retold and Illustrated by Tomie De Paola
    As the tribe suffers the catastrophe of a drought, the Great Spirits ask for the sacrifice of loved possession. While none are ready to give up on what the love and cherish, a little orphan girl, without hesitation offers her only possession to the Spirits: a doll. Her sacrifice not only brings in rains to the parched land, but also a cascade of blue flowers that grace the hills every year since then.

  3. The Girl who Became One with the Wild Horses – Paul Goble
    The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses written and illustrated by Paul Goble is a simple read with a grand storyline! To become one with what we love and to honour our heart’s calling. Aren’t these two seemingly difficult choices enough to make life on Earth truly meaningful?

  4. How the Water Lily came to be
    I found this story in a collection of Native American stories. Unfortunately, I cannot recollect the name! However, I am sure with a little bit of googling, you will be able to find the story somewhere. It is a sublimely beautiful story about a star fairy coming down to earth to live among the people she has loved so much from afar. She tries to live a flower on the mountains and on the plains but is not happy to do so. Finally, when she is almost about to give up and return to her starry abode, she sees her reflection in the waters of a lake. She then, along with her star sisters chooses to turn into white flowers that grow in the waters and thereby start living on Earth.

  5. Rosaura – How the Red Poppy came to be
    This is a story I found in the Childcraft book “Stories for Children”. I hope you can find it one the internet!
    It is a story about a little girl who wears a red hairband and loves the corn fields more than anything else she ever had. One day, she disappears without leaving a trace. However, a few days later, the field is filled with red flowers that the people have never seen before. Roasura’s spirit they believe has turned herself into the red flowers, to be one with the fields she loved so much. This story at a surface level carries the theme of separation and loss, however stories are multi-dimensional and children usually absorb the deeper meaning, which in this case is of becoming one with what one loves. So, to a parent or teacher, I would say, “Do not worry about the surface! Let the depth take care of you and your children.” 🙂

  6. The Tale of the White Calf Buffalo Woman
    You will find many versions of this story online. Take your pick.
    In most versions, the White Calf Buffalo Woman is representative of the Divine feminine who comes to Earth in a time of great food scarcity. She teaches them how to pray to the Grandfather Spirit using the pipe, the sacredness of Earth and how their bodies are a vessel connecting the Earth to the Skies. After she departs, great herds of buffalos arrive allowing themselves to be killed so that the tribe can survive.

  7. The Earth Made New – Paul Goble
    This is a Native American tale of Creation, beautifully written and illustrated by Paul Goble.

Songs that can accompany these stories:

Can you fly like an eagle?
(207) 4th Grade Waldorf: Can You Be Like an Eagle? – YouTube

Ni bi wah bo (Water Song)
(207) Sing The Water Song – YouTube

Wendeya ho
(207) The new Cherokee morning song with translation – YouTube

I like the flowers, I like the daffodils
(207) General Musicianship | Warm Up 4 with Lucy Drever | I like the flowers – YouTube

The River is flowing ( for 11 +)
(207) The River is Flowing .. Native American Folk Song .. A video presentation – YouTube

My Paddle’s keen and bright along with Land of the Silver Birch
(209) My Paddle’s Keen and Bright/Land of the Silver Birch – YouTube

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