Cover image for Northern tales : traditional stories of Eskimo and Indian peoples
Northern tales : traditional stories of Eskimo and Indian peoples
Norman, Howard A.
Publication Information:
New York : Pantheon Books, 1990.
Physical Description:
xix, 343 pages ; 24 cm.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.E7 N67 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

Howard Norman was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1949 and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He attended Western Michigan University, the Folklore Institute of Indiana University, and the University of Michigan.

His work with the Cree Indians created an interest and he then got a job as a translator of Native American poems and folktales. He put together a collection of his translations in the book, The Wishing Bone Cycle: Narrative Poems of the Swampy Cree Indians, which was named the co-winner of the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award by the Academy of American Poets. With the Help of a Whiting Award, he has also written The Northern Lights as well as Kiss in the Hotel, Joseph Conrad and Other Stories, and The Bird Artist, which was named one of Time Magazine's Best Five Books of 1994 and won the New England Booksellers Association Prize in Fiction.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The latest entry in Pantheon's folklore series supplies stories and tales from the native peoples of Canada, Alaska, Russia, Greenland, and the other areas bordering on the northern polar region. Although some Eskimo and Indian peoples are not represented, this anthology includes a wide range of arctic and subarctic residents. Within this vast geographical coverage, the common concerns of a harsh environment and of the interdependent survival of nature and humanity become central elements that tie the individual pieces together. Norman arranges his selections by type and subject and contributes a short introduction to each section; otherwise, he allows his storytellers to speak eloquently for themselves. Sources, bibliography. ~--John Brosnahan

Publisher's Weekly Review

There are 116 folktales in this gathering from the myriad cultures of the North. Drawn from regions from Siberia to Greenland, Canada and the Aleutian Islands, the stories represent a diversity of landscapes as well as of human and animal relationships. Arranged, with their origins identified, by folklorist Norman ( Northern Lights ), the tales illuminate arctic and subarctic village life, shamans, hunting and marriage customs. Animals are often central, especially the raven and fox, who take on human qualities. Humor is part of the trickster stories (``Beaver Man Meets Mink Lady''); the Cree Indian heritage preserves the essential Northern hunting experience; mythic elements of intercourse between animals or spirits and humans are pervasive. Cautionary and pedagogical tales, as well as those told at special times and places, round out this chronicle of tribal oral traditions. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

YA-- A variety of stories from native peoples of the far North, including Greenland, Canada, Russia, Alaska, and the polar regions. A brief introduction before each type of traditional tale reflects the tribal and cultural concerns as well as the diversity of people who are deeply involved in and influenced by natural phenomena, animals, shamans, and the supernatural. Through humor and fantasy as well as earthy wisdom, the tale-tellers point out that ``Stories are not just about living things, they are living things.'' Through this book, a way of life is revealed and preserved. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.