Native Languages of the Americas: Alsea Legends and Traditional Stories
This is our collection of links to Alsea folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.
We have indexed our Native American legends 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 Alsea tribe, the traditional stories of
related tribes like the
Siuslaw are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Alsea legend 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 Alsea mythology.
As in many Native American tribes, traditional Alsea myths and sacred stories were told only during the winter-- specifically during January, among the Alseas.
Myths about Coyote and Seu'ku were among the ones whose storytelling was restricted to the month of January.
Folktales and more casual stories, such as legends about Asin and other monsters, were told at any time of year.
Coyote is the culture hero of the Alsea and other tribes of the Oregon coast.
Although he behaves as a trickster character in some Alsea legends, he is also a more serious
transformer figure who teaches the people how to live and helps shape the world for them,
and therefore he was a respected figure among the Alseas. His Alsea name is pronounced
similar to moh-lup-tsin-ee-sla.
Seu'ku (also spelled Seuku, Shio'k, Shiok, Shioku, Suku, and other ways):
An Alsea trickster character, also known as the Wanderer, who underwent a period of transformation as a whale
and afterwards became a mighty monster-slayer. His name is pronounced similar to she-oo-kuh.
Asin (also known as Lxalwaena):
A cannibal ogress. Like other monstrous ogres of the Northwest Coast, Asin preys on children and
is often the subject of "bogeyman" stories told to frighten children into avoiding dangerous
behavior. Asin was particularly associated with huckleberry plants, so Alsea people (especially
children) did not touch or eat huckleberries. Her name is pronounced similar to ah-sin.