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Legendary Native American Figures: Esa (Issa, Ysa, Pia'isa)



Name: Esa
Also spelled: Isa, Issa, Ysa, Esha, Eesha, Isha
Tribal affiliation: Shoshone, Bannock, Northern Paiute
Pronunciation: ees-sah
Also known as: Pia'isa, Piaisan
Type: Creator, culture hero, transformer, wolf god
Related figures in other tribes: Silver-Fox (Northern California)

Esa, the Wolf, is the creator god and culture hero of the Shoshone, Bannock, and Northern Paiute tribes. Like other figures from the mythic age, Esa is usually represented as a man in Native American stories, but sometimes takes on the literal form of a wolf. Esa is sometimes helped in his work by his irresponsible brother, Coyote, who he often must rescue from his foolishness.

Esa Stories

Wolf Tricks the Trickster:
    Shoshoni legend about Esa, Coyote, and the origin of death.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country:
    Excellent anthology of folklore from the Paiute and other Oregon tribes, including several Esa myths.
Pachee Goyo: History and Legends from the Shoshone:
    Collection of Shoshone legends and oral history.
Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies:
    Anthology of folklore from the Shoshoni, Bannock, and Northern Paiute tribes.

Additional Resources

 Shoshoni myths
 Bannock stories
 Shoshone language
 Oregon Indians
 Plains Indian tribes facts
 Numic languages



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