Wolverine Myths and Visions


Wolverine Myths and Visions

Dene Traditions from Northern Alberta

Edited by Patrick J. Moore and Angela Wheelock

Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians Series

259 pages
Illus., map


February 1990


$55.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The people who call themselves Den Dhaá, a group of the Athapaskan-speaking natives of northwestern Canada known as the Slave or Slavey Indians, now number about one thousand and occupy three reserves in northwestern Alberta. Because their settlements were until recently widely dispersed and isolated, they have maintained their language and traditions more successfully than most other Indian groups. This collection of their stories, recorded in the Dene language with literal interlinear English glosses and in a free English translation, represents a major contribution to the documentation of the Dene language, ethnography, and folklore.

The stories center on two animal people, Wolf, who often helps people in Dene myth and whom traditional members of the tribe still so respect that they do not trap wolves for fur; and Wolverine, a trickster and cultural transformer much like Coyote in the Navajo tradition or Raven in Northwest Coast traditions. "Wolverine" is also the name of the leader of the messianic Tea Dance that took hold among the Dene people early in the twentieth century. His visions and the accounts of his life, which are included here along with the traditional tales, show how the old myths have been transfigured but continue to pervade the Dene world-view.

Author Bio

Patrick J. Moore is a linguist with the Yukon Native Language Centre, and Angela Wheelock, a freelance writer.