Native Languages of the Americas: Cupeno Indian Legends, Myths, and Stories
This is our collection of links to Cupeno folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.
We have indexed our Native 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 Cupenos, the mythology of
related tribes like the Luiseno and
Cahuilla tribes are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Cupeno legend for this page or think one of the ones on here
should be removed, please let us know.
The creator god of Cupeno mythology. Unlike Native cultures in the rest of North America, the Cupeno 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 deceitful, made the life of the
ancients miserable, and was eventually slain by his own creations after he introduced death to the
Mukat's twin brother. He helped his brother to create the world, but after being defeated in a fight
with Mukat, Temayawet left to become ruler of the land of the dead.
Coyote, the trickster figure of Cupeno myth. He is clever but reckless, and is constantly getting himself
and the people around him into trouble with his irresponsible and socially inappropriate behavior.
Cupeno stories about Coyote 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.