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American Indian Cultures, Humor in

  • By: Lawrence W. Gross
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

There are a large number of American Indian nations, or tribes, in North, Central, and South America. It is impossible to make general statements about humor in American Indian cultures that would pertain to them all. However, even though American Indians are stereotypically seen as being stoic, in actuality, humor is an extremely important part of most American Indian traditions. This entry focuses on American Indian people in what is now the United States and the First Nations in Canada. Two fundamental bases of American Indian humor will be discussed, the trickster tradition and teasing. Current expressions of humor among American Indians will also be covered.

The Trickster Tradition

The trickster is a character who appears in the oral tradition of most American Indian nations. The tricksters ...

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