Native Languages of the Americas: Gitxsan Legends and Traditional Stories
This is our collection of links to Gitxsan folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.
We have indexed our Indian lore 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 Gitxsan tribe, the traditional stories of
related tribes like the Nisgaa
and Tsimshian are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Gitxsan legend for this page or think one of the ones on here
should be removed, please let us know.
Raven (Txeemsim or Wegyet):
Raven is the culture hero of the Gitxsan and other Northwest Coast tribes.
He is a revered and benevolent transformer figure who helps the people and shapes their world for them,
but at the same time, he is also a trickster character and many Gitxsan stories about Raven have to do with
his frivolous or poorly thought out behavior getting him into trouble.
Txeemsim is the hero's personal name and is pronounced similar to chaim-sim (sometimes also
spelled Txeemism, Txemsim, or other ways) Wegyet is pronounced similar to wee-gyet
(sometimes also spelled Weget, Weegyet, Wigyet, Wii-Gyat, or Wii Gyet) and is an eponym meaning "big man" or
"giant." Occasionally younger people may also refer to him by the name Gaak, which is the
literal Gitxsan word for "raven," but this is not done in traditional stories.