Legends from the Forest

Legends from the Forest

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Legends from the Forest

Chief Thomas Fiddler

Edited by James R. Stevens and translated by Edtrip Fiddler

Other storytellers are Edward Rae, Titus Goodman, Thomas Linklater and Abel Fiddler

Artwork by Sam Ash, Levius Fiddler, Gelineau P. Fisher, Douglas Kakekagumic, Johnson Meekis, and Noah Sainnawap

6 X 9 inches, 120 pages
20 b&w reproductions of paintings by six different native artists

Cree Legends of Sandy Lake, No. 1

INDISPENSIBLE FOR UNDERSTANDING THE BOREAL CULTURE of the North, Legends of the Forest is a collection of foundation stories and other legends as passed down through generations by the Sandy Lake Cree. Foundation stories describe events that "occur in the pale before human beings were extant on earth. Only Weesakayjac and the creatures inhabit the forest world." The enigmatic Weesakayjac is a hunter, in human form. "... One can hardly find a better teacher on the wild behaviour of human beings."

These stories are told by Chief Thomas Fiddler with help from his friends—Edward Rae, Titus Goodman, Thomas Linklater and Abel Fiddler. Together with Sacred Legends and Killing the Shamen this volume forms a trilogy of Sandy Lake stories from Penumbra Press.

"The stories illustrate an organic view of existence, an essential for those inhabiting the boreal forest. From the mythological Weesakajac (teacher and fool) to the medicine battles between clans, the feats of the Yorkboat men of the Hudson's Bay era, and the heroes of Old Young Lad, "Great Northern Captain Assup," and James Linklater, these storytellers dramatize the socio-cultural dynamics of their homeland. They give the how-and-why, mysticism, mystery, and madness."

—Lenore Keeshig-Tobias



Chief Thomas Fiddler


'Fiddler is the hereditary leader of the Sucker clan at Big Sandy Lake on the Upper Severn River in the province of Ontario. His father, Robert Fiddler, and grandfather, Jack Fiddler, were leaders before him. This lineage is traceable to a great grandfather who had no English name. He was Porcupine Standing Sideways who died in 1891 at the ripe old age of 121 years.'

—James R. Stevens


James R. Stevens


Originally from St. Marys, Ontario, James R. Stevens has co-authored several books with First Nations holymen and leaders, including James Redsky, Chief Dan Kennedy, and Chief Thomas Fiddler. A counselor at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Stevens is perhaps best known for one of his earlier books Sacred Legends of the Sandy Lake Cree.

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