Bloodstoppers & Bearwalkers: Folk Traditions of Michigan's Upper Peninsula

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Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2008 - History - 371 pages
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Remote and rugged, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (fondly known as “the U.P.”) has been home to a rich variety of indigenous peoples and Old World immigrants—a heritage deeply embedded in today’s “Yooper” culture. Ojibwes, French Canadians, Finns, Cornish, Poles, Italians, Slovenians, and others have all lived here, attracted to the area by its timber, mineral ore, and fishing grounds. Mixing local happenings with supernatural tales and creatively adapting traditional stories to suit changing audiences, the diverse inhabitants of the U.P. have created a wealth of lore populated with tricksters, outlaws, cunning trappers and poachers, eccentric bosses of the mines and lumber camps, “bloodstoppers” gifted with the lifesaving power to stop the flow of blood, “bearwalkers” able to assume the shape of bears, and more.             For folklorist Richard M. Dorson, who ventured into the region in the late 1940s, the U.P. was a living laboratory, a storyteller’s paradise. Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers, based on his extensive fieldwork in the area, is his richest and most enduring work. This new edition, with a critical introduction and an appendix of additional tales selected by James P. Leary, restores and expands Dorson’s classic contribution to American folklore. Engaging and well informed, the book presents and ponders the folk narratives of the region’s loggers, miners, lake sailors, trappers, and townsfolk. Unfolding the variously peculiar and raucous tales of the U.P., Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers reveals a vital component of Upper Midwest culture and a fascinating cross-section of American society.  
  

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Review: Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers: Folk Traditions of the Upper Peninsula

User Review  - Jason - Goodreads

An interesting collection of folk tales from the different cultures that settled in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The tales give some insight into how the cultures fit into the mix of the UP. I especially enjoyed the stories and viewpoints of the Cornish Jacks. Read full review

Contents

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS BOOK
1
The Indian Tradition
15
CANADIENS
69
COUSIN JACKS
103
FINNS
123
BLOODSTOPPERS
150
TOWNSFOLK
169
LUMBERJACKS
186
MINERS
211
LAKESMEN
231
SAGAMEN
249
NOTES ON THE TALES
275
MORE COMMENTARY AND TALES
299
INDEX
365
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Richard M. Dorson (1916–81) was a professor of history and folklore at Indiana University and the author of many books on American folk traditions, including American Folklore; America in Legend: Folklore from the Colonial Period to the Present; and Folklore and Folklif: an Introduction.   James P. Leary is professor of folklore and Scandinavian studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he also directs the Folklore Program and is cofounder of the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures. A native of northern Wisconsin, he is the author of Wisconsin Folklore; So Ole Says to Lena: Folk Humor of the Upper Midwest; and Polkabilly: How the Goose Island Ramblers Redefined American Folk Music.

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