Middle School (9 - 14) Books

PIMA INDIAN LEGENDS by Anna Moore Shaw. University of Arizona Press, 1230 N. Park, #102, Tucson, AZ 85719. Illustrated. 111 pp., $9.95 paper. 0-8165-0186-6

In this reissue of the 1968 original edition, Shaw retells twenty-four stories that she began collecting from her relatives in the 1930s. While many who claim to be preserving Native American folklore do so in an academic setting which frequently saps their life, Shaw's tales abound with vitality and humor.

Beginning with the Pima creation myths of the great flood of the Gila River and the making of the images of the Pimas by Elder Brother (Se-eh-ha) and the Apache by Coyote, Shaw relates how (and why) the Hohokam Great House was built on the banks of the Gila River at Casa Grande, the fight between the Yumas and Pimas, and the touching tale of Meteor and Morning Star. My favorite folk-hero is the coyote - the trickster who can send you down the path to wisdom or just as easily fool you into thinking you matter to the world. At least half of these stories involve coyote, either playing tricks (such as getting the Bear People to have a victory celebration after a fight, not knowing that they had killed their brothers) or being tricked himself (as when he is instructed not to look at his beautiful blue coat. When he does, he falls in the sand and it sticks to him).

"Pima Indian Legends" is perfect for reading aloud tochildren, and is highly recommended. Reviewed by Steve Brock

File: mi233

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Native American BOOKS, text and graphics copyright Paula Giese, 1996

Last Updated: Thursday, April 11, 1996 - 3:53:11 AM