While trapping in Montana during the 1880s, young Frank B. Linderman befriended the Kootenai Indians. At their campfires he heard about Skinkoots the coyote, Co-pee the owl, Frog Chief, and the other animal people. The telling impressed him, and in 1926 he was able, from long familiarity, to translate the tales for Kootenai Why Stories.
Old-Man appears as the flawed undergod known by different names to other tribes, a figure provoking more hilarity than reverence. The frog is another prominent character in this northwestern Indian lore. Also recognizable for their distinctive attributes are the grizzly bear, deer, rabbit, and skunk. Making sense of nature, the stories explain why the coyote has thin legs, why the moose has a moose’s nose, why the deer carries a black mark on the underjaw, and how the animals stole the springtime and put an end to winter. Linderman’s retelling captures the mystery and spirit of a forested world.
Softcover, 173 pages.