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Native Languages of the Americas:
Coos Indian Legends, Myths, and Stories

This is our collection of links to Coos stories and folktales 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 Coos, the mythology of related tribes like the Siuslaw and Alsea tribes are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Coos story for this page or think one of the ones on here should be removed, please let us know.

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Coos Mythological Figures

As in many Native American tribes, traditional Coos myths and sacred stories were told only during the winter. Myths about Coyote, even the most humorous ones, were among the stories restricted to wintertime. Coos folktales and other stories, such as legends about monsters and heroes, were told at any time of year.

Yelis (Coyote): Coyote is the culture hero of the Coos and other tribes of the Oregon coast. Although he behaves as a trickster character in some Coos stories, he is also a more serious transformer figure who teaches the people how to live and helps shape the world for them, and therefore he was a respected figure among the Coos tribes. His Coos name is pronounced similar to yay-leese.

Coos Indian Folklore

*Coos Texts:
    Collection of Coos legends and folktales.
*The Woman who Married a Merman:
    Coos legend about a woman who turned into an otter.

Recommended Books on Coos Myth

Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country:
    Excellent anthology of folklore from the Coos and other Oregon tribes.
Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest:
    Collection of legends and folktales from the Coos and other northwestern tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Coos religion and expressive traditions
 Books of Native American legends
 Indian religions
 Oregon Indian tribes
 Penutian languages
 Native American Indian people

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