Native Languages of the Americas: Chinook Legends, Myths, and Stories
This is our collection of links to Chinook folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.
We have indexed our Native American mythology 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 Chinook tribe, the traditional stories of
neghboring tribes like the
Nootka and Salish tribes are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Chinook legend for this page or think one of the ones on here
should be removed, please let us know.
The trickster hero of the Chinook and southern Salishan tribes.
Bluejay is generally a benevolent being who is helpful to humankind, but he is also extremely foolish and careless,
and Chinook stories about him are often humorous or even slapstick in nature.
Blue-jay's long-suffering older sister and the butt of many of his jokes.
One of the most common storylines in Chinook legends involves Ioi making reasonable
comments to Blue-jay which he then interprets in some ridiculous way (similar to modern
Amelia Bedelia stories.) At other times, Ioi gives her brother sensible advice which he
tells everyone was his own idea.
This is another Chinook trickster character. Indeed, some of the same stories were told by Chinook
people with either Bluejay or Coyote as the main character. Coyote is the trickster figure
of the Interior Salish and Plateau tribes; since the Chinooks were the center of a trade network that included
most of the northwestern tribes, it isn't surprising that their mythology absorbed elements from many
A Transformer figure, common to the mythology of many Northwest Coast tribes, who brought balance to the
world by using his powers to change people, animals, and the landscape into the forms they have today.
Large, hairy wild men of the forest. These different names come from different languages of the
Chinook trade area. Boqs is the most commonly used one in Chinook folklore (Skookum is also
common, but since this word just means "big" or "powerful" in Chinook Jargon,
it is used to refer to all sorts of creatures, not just Boqs.) In most traditional Chinook legends,
Boqs are dangerous man-eating monsters, however in others, they are more benign like the
Halkomelem Sasquatch. This is another example of the Chinooks absorbing different versions
of stories from their neighbors and trade partners.