1. FrankTheArmadillo244

    FrankTheArmadillo244 New Member

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    Shapeshifting/Shamanism mythology

    Discussion in 'Research' started by FrankTheArmadillo244, Jan 12, 2021.

    Hi. I'm tooling around with the idea of a short story centered around a shape shifter as the main character. Not one who has the 'curse of the werewolf' in the european sense, but one who merges with the spirit of an animal. Are there any native american shape changing entities which kind of fit with this profile? Any wikipedia pages I could be pointed in the direction of would be very appreciated.
     
  2. Timothy Skelf

    Timothy Skelf New Member

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    I believe you're referring to Skin Walkers, common in Navajo culture, I would start with that.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin-walker
     
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  3. Maggie May

    Maggie May Active Member

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    I have read a book with a similar character. Able to shift into another animal if they held the bones of that animal.
     
  4. NWOPD

    NWOPD Administrator

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    Are you also open to mythology from natives in Central America/South America or North America only?
     
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  5. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    Timothy Skelf beat me to it. My first thought was the Navajo skinwalkers, but I'm not sure that's exactly what you have in mind. The Navajo skinwalkers are malevolent entities. However, I think any number of indigenous North American tribes had shamans ('medicine men") who were -- or professed to be -- shape shifters

    https://blog.kachinahouse.com/the-importance-of-shapeshifting-in-native-american-culture/

    http://www.native-languages.org/shape-shifters.htm

    https://eaglespiritministry.com/SilverEagleGathering/2bears/shapes.htm
     
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  6. NWOPD

    NWOPD Administrator

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    If mesoAmerica is acceptable:

    Nagual, which are Jaguar shapeshifters who are said to have made a pact with the devil. Related is the were-Jaguar.

    Huay Chivo, which is half-man, half-beast and can transform into a variety of creatures.

    ijiraq, a Inuit shapeshifter that kidnaps children. Can transform into any form.

    Also a great resource: Wikipedia’s list of shapeshifters. (It is non-comprehensive and not North-America exclusive).
     
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  7. NorthSolace

    NorthSolace New Member

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    There is a book written by Frank Hamel titled Human Animals that extensively researches shapeshifting in many cultures. It is available online for free at gutenberg.org. The link is http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40772/40772-h/40772-h.htm
     
  8. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Why do you wanna know, huh?
    If you are thinking of referring to any specific native American concept, you should be mindful that native american cultures (plural) is a pretty sensitive subject. If you look around online it's quite easy to find that a number of native American people are quite wary about their legends being used in European pop-culture fantasy. Some people would rather these ideas not be used by non-indigenous people in their fiction at all. If you are going to use any of them, you're going to want to seek out advice on how to do it right from people of the relevant native American tribes/cultures to whatever you're using, either already written or from sensitivity readers or both.
     
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  9. Oscar Leigh

    Oscar Leigh Contributor Contributor

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    The obvious idea for what you're talking about would be skinwalkers, from the Navajo. I would note on that that Navajo is actually a Spanish colonial term, although generally accepted, their endonym (own term) is Diné (people) and their language is Diné bizaad (lit. 'People's language').
    I would also ask why you are interested in Native American cultures specifically? What is your story? What role do native cultures play? What the reason is and how cultural ideas are situated in context is going to play a key role in how sensitive it is.
     

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