Popular Hopi kachina dolls and awesome totem poles are but two of the aspects of the sophisticated, seldom-examined network of mythologies explored in this fascinating volume. To some in the Lakota tribe, the 1994 birth of a rare white buffalo calf in Wisconsin was more than a biological anomaly-it was the long-prophesied return of their most revered deity, White Buffalo Woman, a harbinger of peace and good times. To others it was powerful proof of the hold myths can have on the people whose lives are molded around them.; This revealing work introduces readers to the mythologies of Native Americans from the United States to the Arctic Circle-a rich, complex, and diverse body of lore, which remains less widely known than mythologies of other peoples and places. In thematic chapters and encyclopedia-style entries, Handbook of Native American Mythology examines the characters and deities, rituals, sacred locations and objects, concepts, and stories that define and distinguish mythological cultures of various indigenous peoples. By tracing the traditions as far back as possible and following their evolution from generation to generation, Handbook of Native American Mythology offers a unique perspective on Native American history, culture, and values. It also shows how central these traditions are to contemporary Native American life, including the continuing struggle for land rights, economic parity, and repatriation of cultural property.