Native Languages of the Americas: Ahtna Legends and Traditional Stories
This is our collection of links to Ahtna folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.
We have indexed our Native American tales section
by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same
legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to
each other. In particular, though these legends come from the Ahtna tribe, the traditional stories of
related tribes like the
Tanaina are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend an Ahtna story for this page or think one of the ones on here
should be removed, please contact us and let us know.
Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Ahtna mythology.
Raven (Saghani Ggaay in the Ahtna language):
Raven is the culture hero of the Ahtna and other Alaskan Athabaskan tribes.
He is a revered and benevolent transformer god who helps the people and shapes their world for them,
but at the same time, he is also a trickster character and many Raven stories have to do with
his frivolous or poorly thought out behavior getting him into trouble. The Ahtna name sounds similar to sah-gah-nee guy.
Bush Indians (Ts'eł'eni or Kol'eni):
Wild men of the tundra. They are aggressive and are said to wage war against the Athabaskan people.
Bush Indians often feature as bogeymen in stories told to children, sometimes
kidnapping or even eating unwary kids. Pronounced similar to ts-elth-eh-nee.
The Wood Man (Nuhu'anh):
A hairy bigfoot-like wild man of the forest who moves silently and rarely reveals himself to humans.
Frequently he steals things or causes other minor mischief, and in some stories
has been said to capture Athabaskan children.
Gguux (also spelled Gux, Ġu∙x, Gook, or other ways):
Underwater monster that lurked in lakes and ate people. Its name is pronounced similar to gookh (the "x" sounds like the raspy "ch" of German "ach.")
Cet'aeni (or Cet'aenn):
Legendary humanoid creatures with tails who lived in trees and caves, enemies of humans. Their name, which
means "tailed ones," is pronounced ket-ann-ee. Today they are sometimes also referred to as the Monkey People.
Raven's Athabaskan Tales:
Online collection of seven Ahtna and other Alaskan Athabaskan legends about the trickster hero Raven.
Native Alaskan Stories:
Eight Ahtna, Tlingit, and Eskimo legends presented by a Native Alaskan educational organization.