Native American Ant Mythology

Published on December 10, 2012 by Casey

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Ant Mythology

Native American Ant Mythology

The industriousness and cooperative spirit of ants sometimes features in Native American folktales, as it does in the folklore of many cultures around the world. In some southwestern tribes, ants played a more important mythological role– in the Cahuilla creation myth, it was ants who spread the earth out for people ant animals to live upon, and in Hopi mythology, it was the Ant People who sheltered humans underground during the destruction of the First World. In northern California tribes, ants were said to predict earthquakes, and it was considered taboo to disturb their nests. In South America, ants are more often portrayed as warriors in Indian legends, probably because of the painful sting inflicted by South American fire ants, and some Native South American initiation rites involve young people subjecting themselves to ant bites.

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Ants are not a common clan animal, but there are some southwestern tribes with Ant Clans, including the Hopi, Pueblo, and Akimel O’odham (Pima) tribes. Ant groupings were particularly important among the Pimas, where the people of every Pima village used to be divided into one Red Ant Clan and one White Ant Clan.

Source: native-languages Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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