Thunderbird

Thunderbird, a supernatural creature prominent in Northwest Coast Indigenous myths.

Thunderbird
Thunderbird is a powerful supernatural being found in Native legends throughout North America. Painting by Carl Ray (courtesy Confederation College, Thunder Bay).

Thunderbird, a supernatural creature prominent in Northwest Coast Indigenous myths. Thunder and lightning are attributed to the thunderbird, which produces thunder by flapping its wings and lightning by opening and closing its eyes. The thunderbird is said to hunt whales, using its wings to shoot arrows. Among some Plains First Nations, thunderstorms are a contest between the thunderbird and a huge rattlesnake. Individuals who had been struck by lightning and survived often became Shamans, for they had received the power of the monster bird.

See also: Indigenous People: Religion.