A revealing analysis of key themes in Native American origin myths--and their stark contrast with the exceptionalist values of the United States. Tales of the Earth
is a comprehensive yet concise overview of Native American mythologies. After outlining theories of the origins of Native North Americans, David Leeming considers the creation myths of many tribes, emphasizing four commonly occurring figures: the Great Spirit, the trickster, the goddess, and the hero. Leeming suggests that in addition to these figures, Native American mythologies have in common a deep reverence for the earth and for community responsibility as opposed to individualism--tenets that stand in stark contrast to the concepts of exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny that characterize the United States, a nation that was built on ancient tribal land.