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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.

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Cahuilla Mythological Figures

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.

Menily (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.

Water Baby: 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.

Cahuilla Indian Folklore

*Cahuilla Creation Myth:
    The story of the creation and education of humans.
*Tauquitch (Tahquitz) * The Legend of Tauquitch and Algoot * The Legend of Tahquitz, Demon of the Cahuilla:
    Luiseno and Cahuilla legends about an evil chief and his heroic son.
*The Legend of the Blue Lizard:
    Cahuilla legend about a sacred lizard.
*Climbing the Mountain:
    Cahuilla story about a chief's sons performing quests.
*Mythology of Southern California:
    Early 20th-century collection of Cahuilla and other California Indian legends.

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Recommended Books on Cahuilla Myth
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

The Heart Is Fire: The World of the Cahuilla Indians of Southern California:
    Book of oral history and traditional stories told by five Cahuilla elders.

Additional Resources

 Cahuilla religion and expressive traditions
 Mythology of Native California
 Cahuilla Indians
 Cahuilla language
 Books of Native American legend
 Native American religious beliefs
 California Indian tribes
 California culture areas
 Uto Aztecan languages
 Native American information for kids

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