Native Languages of the Americas: Cahuilla Indian Legends, Myths, and Stories
This is our collection of links to Cahuilla 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 Cahuillas, the traditional stories of
related tribes like the Luiseno and
Tongva tribes are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Cahuilla legend for this page or think one of the ones on here
should be removed, please let us know.
Mukat (also spelled Mokat, Mukot or Mo-Cot):
The Cahuilla creator god. Unlike Native cultures in the rest of North America, the Cahuilla and other
Sonoran tribes of southeast California and southwestern Arizona did not consider their Creator to be
a benevolent spirit or a friend to humankind-- he was capricious and dangerous, made the life of the
ancients miserable, drove away their protector Moon, and was eventually slain by his own creations
after teaching them warfare.
Temayawet (also spelled Tamaioit, Temmayawit or Tem-ma-ya-wit):
Mukat's twin brother, ruler of the land of the dead.
(also spelled Menil, Menilly, or Man-el): The Cahuilla goddess of the moon, who taught the people the
arts of civilization. She is often called the Moon Maiden in English.
Isily (Coyote, in the Cahuilla language):
Coyote is the trickster figure of Cahuilla mythology. He is clever but reckless, and is constantly getting himself
and the people around him into trouble with his irresponsible and socially inappropriate behavior.
Coyote stories are often humorous
in nature, but they can also be cautionary tales about the consequences of bad behavior and the dangers
of interacting with reckless and immoral people.
Mysterious and dangerous water spirits from the folklore of the Mission Indians and other California Indian
tribes. They inhabit springs and ponds, and they and their eerie cries are omens of bad luck and death.