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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.

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Cupeno Mythological Figures

Mukat : 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 world.

Tumaiyowit: 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.

Isil: 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.

Cupeno Indian Folklore

*The Story of Kisily Pewish:
    Legend about a Cupeno hero and his pet bear.

Recommended Books of Cupeno Myths

Surviving Through the Days: Translations of Native California Stories and Songs:
    Anthology of myths and traditional literature from the Cupeno and other Native California tribes.

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Additional Resources

 The Religion of the Indians of California
 Books of American Indian folktales
 Indian religions
 Southern California tribes
 Southwest Indians
 Uto-Aztecan languages
 American Indian tribes



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