Ella Elizabeth Clark (January 8, 1896 – July 9, 1984) was an American educator, writer, and Professor Emerita of English. Although Clark was not a trained anthropologist or folklorist, she collected large numbers of American Indian and First Nations oral traditions and made them available to a wide readership.
Ella Elizabeth Clark was born in Summertown, Tennessee on January 8, 1896. She is the daughter of Samuel L. and Linda (Shaw) Clark and attended high school in Peoria, Illinois before she started working as a high school teacher for English and dramatics.In 1921 she received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her M.A. in 1927. In the same year she started teaching at the English Department at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.
Her early academic interest was on writing, national forests, and descriptions of the local landscape.During World War II she worked as a fire lookout for the United States Forest Service in the Cascade Range.
In the years after her work as a lookout she went on research trips through North America, interviewed indigenous people, and collected their oral traditions. She published the results of her research in her books Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest (1953), Indian Legends of Canada (1960), and Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies (1966). In 1966 she received the Governor's Writers Day Award.
Clark devoted a great part of her life to the study of oral traditions of the indigenous people of North America. She recovered many of these traditions from research of library documents such as early anthropological studies, manuscripts of pioneers, but also by talking to members of the Native tribes herself.
Many of the stories collected by Clark deal with landscape features of specific regions of North America. These and other stories contain indigenous knowledge about landmarks as, for example, Crater Lake and cataclysmic events such as earthquakes and floods, and have been used to gain additional insights into the geological past.
Clark retired as English lecturer in 1961. Her health deteriorated and she moved to La Jolla, California. Clark finished her last project, Sacagawea of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1983) with the help of Margot Edmonds. After she had suffered a stroke, she was sent to a nursing home.Clark died in California at the age of 88 on July 9, 1984.
Clark wrote her books for a general readership, teachers, and students. For this purpose she frequently edited the original texts, which was criticized by some anthropologists and folkloristsOther scholars such as Canadian anthropologist Marius Barbeau acknowledged Clark's work and effort "considering that she is not a professional folklorist."
The stories collected by Clark have been cited in various handbooks and anthologies of indigenous American oral traditions.
Folklore is the body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. This includes oral traditions such as tales, legends, proverbs and jokes. They include material culture, ranging from traditional building styles to handmade toys common to the group. Folklore also includes customary lore, taking actions for folk beliefs, the forms and rituals of celebrations such as Christmas and weddings, folk dances and initiation rites. Each one of these, either singly or in combination, is considered a folklore artifact or traditional cultural expression. Just as essential as the form, folklore also encompasses the transmission of these artifacts from one region to another or from one generation to the next. Folklore is not something one can typically gain in a formal school curriculum or study in the fine arts. Instead, these traditions are passed along informally from one individual to another either through verbal instruction or demonstration. The academic study of folklore is called folklore studies or folkloristics, and it can be explored at undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. levels.
The thunderbird is a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples' history and culture. It is considered a supernatural being of power and strength.
"Thunderbird and Whale" is an indigenous myth belonging to the mythological traditions of a number of tribes from the Pacific Northwest.
A fairy tale, fairytale, wonder tale, magic tale, fairy story or Märchen is an instance of folklore genre that takes the form of a short story. Such stories typically feature mythical entities such as dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies and Peris, giants, Divs, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments. In most cultures, there is no clear line separating myth from folk or fairy tale; all these together form the literature of preliterate societies. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends and explicit moral tales, including beast fables.
Chinookan peoples include several groups of Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest in the United States who speak the Chinookan languages. Since at least 4000 BCE Chinookan peoples have resided along the Lower and Middle Columbia River (Wimahl) from the river's gorge downstream (west) to the river's mouth, and along adjacent portions of the coasts, from Tillamook Head of present-day Oregon in the south, north to Willapa Bay in southwest Washington. In 1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition encountered the Chinook Tribe on the lower Columbia.
Folklore studies, also known as folkloristics, and occasionally tradition studies or folk life studies in the United Kingdom, is the branch of anthropology devoted to the study of folklore. This term, along with its synonyms, gained currency in the 1950s to distinguish the academic study of traditional culture from the folklore artifacts themselves. It became established as a field across both Europe and North America, coordinating with Volkskunde (German), folkeminner (Norwegian), and folkminnen (Swedish), among others.
Charles Marius Barbeau,, also known as C. Marius Barbeau, or more commonly simply Marius Barbeau, was a Canadian ethnographer and folklorist who is today considered a founder of Canadian anthropology. A Rhodes Scholar, he is best known for an early championing of Québecois folk culture, and for his exhaustive cataloguing of the social organization, narrative and musical traditions, and plastic arts of the Tsimshianic-speaking peoples in British Columbia, and other Northwest Coast peoples. He developed unconventional theories about the peopling of the Americas.
William Beynon (1888–1958) was a Canadian hereditary chief of the Tsimshian Nation and an oral historian; he served as ethnographer, translator, and linguistic consultant to many anthropologists who studied his people.
Marjorie Halpin was a U.S.-Canadian anthropologist best known for her work on Northwest Coast art and culture, especially the Tsimshian and Gitksan peoples.
The traditional narratives of Native California are the folklore and mythology of the native people of California. For many historic nations of California, there is only a fragmentary record of their traditions. Spanish missions in California from the 18th century Christianized many of these traditions, and the remaining groups were mostly assimilated to US culture by the early 20th century. While there are sparse records from the 18th century, most material was collected during the 19th and the early 20th centuries.
Achomawi traditional narratives include myths, legends, tales, and oral histories preserved by the Achomawi people of the Pit River basin of Northeastern California.
Kumeyaay traditional narratives include myths, legends, tales, and oral histories preserved by the Kumeyaay people of southern California and northwestern Baja California.
Modoc traditional narratives include myths, legends, tales, and oral histories preserved by the Modoc and Klamath people of northern California and southern Oregon.
Shasta traditional narratives include myths, legends, tales, and oral histories preserved by the Shasta people of northern California and southern Oregon.
Elsie Worthington Clews Parsons was an American anthropologist, sociologist, folklorist, and feminist who studied Native American tribes—such as the Tewa and Hopi—in Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico. She helped found The New School. She was associate editor for The Journal of American Folklore (1918–1941), president of the American Folklore Society (1919–1920), president of the American Ethnological Society (1923–1925), and was elected the first female president of the American Anthropological Association (1941) right before her death.
Sacagawea was a Lemhi Shoshone woman who, in her teens, helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition in achieving their chartered mission objectives by exploring the Louisiana Territory. Sacagawea traveled with the expedition thousands of miles from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean, helping to establish cultural contacts with Native American people and contributing to the expedition's knowledge of natural history in different regions.
Eva Emery Dye was an American writer, historian, and prominent member of the women's suffrage movement. As the author of several historical novels, fictional yet thoroughly researched, she is credited with "romanticizing the historic West, turning it into a poetic epic of expanding civilization." Her best known work, The Conquest: The True Story of Lewis & Clark (1902), is notable for being the first to present Sacagawea as a historically significant character in her own right.
Canadian folklore is the traditional material that Canadians pass down from generation to generation, either as oral literature or "by custom or practice". It includes songs, legends, jokes, rhymes, proverbs, weather lore, superstitions, and practices such as traditional food-making and craft-making. The largest bodies of folklore in Canada belong to the aboriginal and French-Canadian cultures. English-Canadian folklore and the folklore of recent immigrant groups have added to the country's folk.
John Barre Toelken was an award-winning American folklorist, noted for his study of Native American material and oral traditions.
Carmen Roy was an ethnologist and folklorist who conducted a oral survey in the Gaspé Peninsula and served in many roles as curator and section director at Canada's National Museum in Ottawa in the late 1940s through to the 1980s. Working with Marius Barbeau and Luc Lacouciere, she helped build and modernize ethnographic practice in Canada and was considered an early leader in the field of folklore in the country. As an administrator at the National Museum she also helped foster the scholarship of collectors such as Helen Creighton and Edith Fowke.