San Carlos Apache Mythology
These narratives are the translations of texts
recorded during several visits to the San Carlos Apache. The first
of these was made for the University of California in 1905 with only
moderate success because of the difficulty in finding proper
interpreters. The larger amount of material was secured early in
1910 for the American Museum of Natural History and supplementary
texts were recorded during the summer of 1914 for the same
institution. In the main, then, this publication, together with
Volume VIII of this series, forms a part of the work inaugurated in
the Southwest in 1909 under the yearly grants made by Archer M.
The myths of the Apache are of two sorts: First, there are several important narratives, the most typical of which explains the origin of the earth, and of its topography, the birth of the Culture Hero and his activities in freeing the world of monsters. To the second class belong the myths explaining the origin of definite ceremonies. These myths in their more complete versions are known only to those who celebrate the ceremonies in question and are perhaps integral parts of the rituals. The myth of the woman who became a deer is typical of this class.
The tales divide into those which are wholly native and those that, in part at least, are of European origin. The Apache themselves recognize some of these tales as "Mexican" but claim other such stories as Apache. Without a knowledge of European folklore a complete segregation of the European elements is impossible. The footnotes point out the more obvious foreign tales or incidents.
When the literature of all the Southern Athapascan tribes has been published in considerable quantity, a characterization of it as a whole and a comparison with that of the Pueblo peoples and the neighboring tribes will be of interest.
Resulting as a by-product from linguistic work these myths and tales are not to be considered as exhaustive of those known to the Apache. Long tales, European in origin, have been heard at the camp fires which are not included in this series. It is probable that important native myths have also been missed.
Pliny Earle Goddard.
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