The Girl Who Married the Moon - Tales from Native North America

By Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross


From a young woman who marries the moon to a girl who befriends Thunder and harnesses power, The Girl Who Married the Moon brings us an imaginative collection of stories celebrating the female rite of passage. Paying tribute to the most sacred and powerful force in Native culture, a woman's ability to create life, these tales depict young women as brave, self-reliant, and in control of their destinies. Originating in the oral tradition and entrusted to noted storytellers Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross, The Girl Who Married the Moon provides a fascinating insight into Native American culture and its female role models.  

Reader Activities

Connection to Nature 

In many of the tales, there is an emphasis on the connection between people and nature. Choose three tales and provide evidence that the author offers to document this connection.  What is the significance of nature to the tribe and what is the connection? What was your response when reading about this connection and how did it make you feel? Think of your day-to-day life, what is your own connection to nature and how does it play a role in your life? (If you can't think of anything, how can you start making a meaningful connection with your surroundings?) 

Write a summary of what connections you see in the novel, your response, and the part nature plays in your life.  

Characteristics of Women 

How were women treated in the tribes highlighted in the novel? Were they given more or less rights than American (or European) women at that time? Choose 1-2 tribes and document the role of women in that tribe.  Use outside resources, as well.  By contrast, research American or European women during the same time period.  If you are unsure what the time period is, do your best to guess based on context clues. Compare and contrast the roles of women. Include topics such as role in the household, raising children, community decision-making, food preparation, healing, coming of age ceremonies, and how they dressed.  Make a compare and contrast list documenting what you have researched. 

In the clip below, matriarchal and patriarchal societies are discussed.  Look up these terms - what kind of society do you live in and write down specific examples supporting your argument.  

Tribes in Native North America

There are many tribes highlighted in The Girl Who Married the Moon. Choose one and input the following information based on your reading and also conduct additional research to fill out each bullet point below:

  • Tribe Name:
  • Other Name/Known As:
  • Tribe Location:
  • Language:
  • Traditional Dress and Significance:
  • Prominent Historical Figures: 
  • Ceremonies:
  • Religious Traditions and Beliefs:
  • Current Population:

Supplemental Videos and Materials 

Listen to a Cheyenne Fast War Dance (refer back to Where the Girl Rescued Her Brother in the book)

Buffalo Calf Road Woman was a Northern Cheyenne woman who was the sister of a male Native American fighter who was involved in the Battle of Rosebud.

Listen to Joseph Bruchac, the compiled the tales in The Girl Who Married the Moon, tell another tale!

For over thirty years Joseph Bruchac has been creating poetry, short stories, novels, anthologies and music that reflect his Abenaki Indian heritage and Native American traditions. He is the author of more than 120 books for children and adults.

Watch the Apache Fire Dance below.  Could this be the dance as told by the tale The Beauty Way - The Ceremony of White-Pyramid?

The White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers Performed Fireside at the first annual Pueblo Shop & Stroll at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Apache girls take part in ancient tests of strength, endurance and character that will make them women and prepare them for the trials of womanhood. ➡ Subscribe: About National Geographic: National Geographic is the world's premium destination for science, exploration, and adventure.