In Native American myths, animals are used to represent many things. Primarily, I feel that the use of animals in these myths are to teach us lessons. They act as humans while still dwelling in the animal world. They speak and interact with each other while thinking as a human would. The Native Americans had a great respect for animals. This is why it is animals that are the main characters in their stories and not humans.
In the myth "Rabbit Fools Alligator", the lesson is the struggle between strength versus intelligence. It shows us that being deceived can come at any cost no matter how innocent they may seem. The rabbit represents the smaller, seemingly weaker of the two, but shows the alligator "trouble" by surrounding him with fire and burning him. Native Americans told these myths so that humans could learn through them and relate to the issues at hand.
In another story, "The Underground Panthers", the idea of animal-human interaction plays a very important role. The panther tells the hunter that they are both looking for the same thing and that they should do it together. The hunter begins to understand the panther's life and when he is put back into human society, he dies. He could only survive living with the panthers.
In these stories, animals symbolize human nature and are there to teach lessons and prove points. They also show that animals and humans can come together and strive for the same needs. We are all similar creatures and all come from nature. Humans can learn valuable lessons from observing how the animals live and flourish.
The conclusions about Native American Culture based on their animal myths are that the Native Americans have a great respect for animals, that they share common threads, possess similar traits and are a part of human nature in how we work and live our everyday lives. Humans can learn from them in that we can see ourselves through these stori…

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