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Frank B. Linderman

Indian Why Stories


The Indians of the northwestern plains always laughed at the tales about Old-man, heard around a campfire after the sun set. For a powerful character, he was comically flawed. Old-man made the world but sometimes forgot the names of things. Victim and victimizer, he seemed closer to common experience than the awesome god Manitou. Frank B. Linderman thought Old-man was, under different names, an undergod for all Indian tribes. These stories--collected from Blackfeet, Chippewa, and Cree elders and first published in 1920--are full of wonder at the way things are.

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