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Beaver Legends, Myths and Stories

This is our index of Beaver folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have organized 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 Beaver tribe (also known as the Dane-zaa, Dunne-za, or Danezaa,) the traditional stories of related tribes like the Sekani and Chipewyan are very similar.

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

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Important Beaver Mythological Figures

Saya (or Tsááyaa): This is the benevolent culture hero of the Beaver tribe (sometimes referred to as a "transformer" by folklorists.) He is generally portrayed as a heroic monster-slayer and friend to mankind, though there are some Beaver stories about him that are humorous in nature.

Wechuge: This is a kind of cannibal monster common to Northern Athabaskan mythology, similar to the Wendigo of the northern Algonquian tribes. In some legends the wechuge is portrayed as an ancient ice being that comes from the wilderness to prey upon humans, but in Beaver mythology it is more often said to be a person who has been possessed or overwhelmed by the power of one of the ancient spirit animals.

Beaver Indian Folklore

*The World Will Listen To My Voice:
    Audio recording of the Beaver creation myth told by a Dane-zaa dreamer (naache.)
*Flood Tale of the Beaver Indians:
    Beaver myth about the flooding of the earth.
*Dane-zaa Stories and Songs: Dreamers and the Land:
    Video clips of Beaver storytellers relating legends and oral histories in their native language, with English translation.
*The Story of Tumaxale:
    Beaver story about the adventures of two mythical brothers.
*Hair Scrapings Man (Agait'osdunne):
    Tales of the birth and childhood of an unusual Beaver Indian hero.
*Atceco Kills a Bad Man:
    Legend of a Beaver hero who outwits a greedy villain.
*The Revenge of Wonyoni:
    Another legendary Beaver Indian hero, this one a wily old man with medicine powers.

Recommended Books on Beaver Mythology
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When You Sing It Now, Just Like New:
    Book of Dane-zaa (Beaver) folklore and oral traditions.
Beaver Texts:
    Collection of oral history and traditional stories in Beaver with English translation.
Trail to Heaven: Knowledge And Narrative In A Northern Native Community:
    Good ethnography of the British Columbia Dunne-za including several legends told by tribal elders.

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Additional Resources

 Books of American Indian mythology
 American Indian gods
 Beaver words
 Indian tribes of Alberta
 People of the Subarctic
 Native American websites for students

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