This series features traditional Native American storytelling, along with time for discussion, as well as the ways these stories can be incorporated by Native American providers into their work with patients.
Please note that while we encourage non-Native providers to attend to increase your cultural understanding and sensitivity, we ask that out of respect for cultural traditions, you do not use these stories as your own if they are not a part of your culture.
Native storytelling is an long honored way of teaching lessons of life. We, as Native people, need to laugh while learning. For example, laughing at how Coyote makes funny mistakes. This can teach people how to avoid behaving as Coyote does. Further, Native legends can offer stories about Creation or the Trickster. However, some stories can only be told during certain times of the year. For example, Coyote legends are only told during the winter time because that is often when Native people would be in their lodges practicing survival skills to help the tribe thrive in difficult times.
Traditionally, the storyteller needed to be an excellent psychologist and able to understand peoples’ perspectives. A story might be used in treatment to help a patient come to a realization in a culturally informed way.