Totem Tales

E.C. (Ted) Meyers, Totem Tales: Legends from the Rainforest (Surrey, B.C., Canada: Hancock House, 2005)

Meyers - Totem Tales
This is a wonderful collection from a several different Pacific Northwest tribes. As is true of most indigenous legends, these tales explain the mysteries of nature and the story of the land. Formation of rivers, explanations of climate, the behaviors of different birds, fish and animals - all are topics for the tales that have been collected in this volume. The book contains two dozen legends that range from a single page to several pages. But the length of the stories is not the critical part. These are tales that are meant to be told and not read. At a bare minimum, they should be read out loud to capture some of the character of the stories.

The book does not give any biographical information about Ted Meyers, but I suspect that he is a collector who has spent time with several different tribes. Each tale is identified by the tribe from which the legend has come. It is unlikely that Meyers speaks the dialects of all of the different tribes whose tales appear in the book, so there has been some translation before he learned the stories. Like all stories, they probably have lost some of their meaning in translation. Nonetheless the book remains interesting and a joy to read.

it is another great addition to our collection of indigenous stories and legends.