Our stories were us, what we knew, where we came from and where we were going. They were told to remind of us of our responsibility, to instruct, and to entertain. There were stories of the Creation, our travels, our laws. There were legends of hard-fought battles, funny anecdotes - some from the smokehouse, some from the trickster - and there were scary stories to remind us of danger, spiritual and otherwise.
Long ago, when time could not be counted, the storyteller made dreams a way of life for those who searched for it. For the young, stories were yet to happen. For the middle, they were what was happening. For the old, what could have been, or wishes unrealized. Yet, for the storyteller all that is said is: true, alive, unquestioned, and the reason for life itself....
It must be remembered that the animals which appear in Indian stories are not the same as those which exist now. When the world began, animals were much bigger, stronger and cleverer than their present counterparts but, because of man's cruelty and agression, these left the earth and took the rainbow path to Galunlati, the Sky Land, where they still remain. The animals which came after them - those we know today - are weak imitations of those first creatures.
North American Indians tell many stories about the stars - individual stars and groups of stars. Often in these stories, the stars are referred to as "the People of the Sky World."
The ancients all had greater powers and cunning than either animals or people. Besides the ancients, real people lived on the earth at that time. Old One made the people out of the last balls of mud he took from the earth. They were so ignorant that they were the most helpless of all the creatures Old One had made. Way back in the distant past, the ancestors of humans were living down below in a world under the earth. They weren't humans yet, they lived in darkness, behaving like bugs.
"These stories are the libraries of our peoples.
In each story, there is recorded some event of interest or importance...
A people enrich their minds who keep their history on the leaves of memory.
Stories were our life and they still are. "