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Bannock Indian Legends, Myths, and Stories

This is our index of Bannock folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have organized our American Indian myths and legends section by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same story 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 Bannock, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Paiute and Shoshone tribes are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Bannock legend for this page, please let us know.

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Important Bannock Mythological Figures

Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Bannock mythology.

Esa/Wolf: Creator god and culture hero of the Bannock tribe. Like other figures from the mythic age, Esa is usually represented as a man in Bannock stories, but sometimes takes on the literal form of a wolf.

Ejupa/Coyote: Wolf's younger brother, Coyote is a trickster figure. Though he often assists his brother and sometimes even does good deeds for the people, Coyotes behavior is so irresponsible and frivolous that he is constantly getting himself and those around him into trouble.

Water Babies: Mysterious and dangerous water spirits from the mythology of the Bannock and other Western Indian tribes. They inhabit springs and ponds, and are usually described as water fairies who lead humans to a watery grave by mimicking the sounds of crying babies at night. Sometimes they are said to kill babies and take their place as changelings. In Bannock traditions, respectful treatment and offerings are often considered to ward off violence by the water babies.

Ninumbee: A violent race of magical little people who were said to kill and eat people.

Bannock Indian Folklore

*Since Time Immemorial:
    Shoshone-Bannock migration myth.
*Shoshone-Bannock Creation Legend:
    Video of a Shoshone-Bannock storyteller narrating a traditional creation story.
*The Wolf, the Fox, the Bobcat and the Cougar:
    Legend about four animal spirits that helped the Shoshone-Bannocks defeat the warlike Little People.
*Ejupa and the Seasons:
    Bannock story about the origin of the four seasons.
American Indian beliefs about the eclipse:
    Oral history about eclipses and their meaning from several tribes including the Shoshone-Bannock.

Recommended Books on Bannock Mythology
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Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country:
    Excellent collection of folklore from the Bannock and other Oregon tribes.
Sage Smoke: Tales of the Shoshoni-Bannock Indians:
    Collection of Shoshone and Bannock legends.
Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies:
    Anthology of folklore from the Bannock and other Great Basin tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Bannock tribe
 Books of American Indian mythology
 American Indian religion
 Oregon tribes
 Great Basin tribes
 Uto-Aztecan languages
 Learning Native American languages

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