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Choctaw Tales

Choctaw Tales

Edited by Tom Mould
Foreword by Chief Phillip Martin
Paperback : 9781578066834, 256 pages, 38 b&w illustrations, September 2004

A treasury of tribal lore told by past and present Choctaw storytellers


Including stories from the 1700s to today, Choctaw Tales showcases the mythic, the legendary and supernatural, the prophecies and histories, the animal fables and jokes that make up the rich and lively Choctaw storytelling tradition. The stories display intelligence, artistry, and creativity as Choctaw narrators, past and present, express and struggle with beliefs, values, humor, and life experiences. Photographs of the storytellers complement the text. For sixteen tales, the Choctaw-language version appears in addition to the English translation.

Many of these stories, passed down through generations, address the Choctaw sense of isolation and tension as storytellers confront eternal, historical, and personal questions about the world and its inhabitants. Choctaw Tales, the first book to collect these stories, creates a comprehensive gathering of oral traditions from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Each story brings to life the complex and colorful world of the Choctaw tribe and its legend and lore. The shukha anumpa include tall tales, jokes, and stories of rabbits, turtles, and bears. The stories of the elders are populated by spirits that bring warnings and messages to the people. These tales provide a spectrum of legend and a glimpse of a vibrant, thriving legacy.


"Choctaw Tales is a fine addition to Tom's Mould's oeuvre on verbal art among the Choctaw, a large and important Native American people of the Southeastern United States. Viewed more broadly, it is also a major addition to the folklore literature Native people peoples of Eastern North America,"

- Jason Baird Jackson, Western Folklore

"This is a good and intelligent collection of tales of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw people. It will be of value and interest to an academic audience and the general reader. It deserves a wide readership who will find the collection an engaging and thought-provoking read."

- G.H. Bennett, Folklore Journal

"{. . . }add to the knowledge and Interpretation of Native American history and literature. Mould makes available narratives collected by ethnographers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, along with contemporary narratives. As he shows, oral traditions still serve this community."

- Annette B. Fromm, Journal of American Folklore