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

This is our collection of links to Haida folktales and traditional stories 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 Haidas, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Tlingit and Tsimshian tribes are very similar.

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

Important Haida Mythological Figures

Raven (Xhuuya or Nankil'slas): Raven is the culture hero of the Haida mythology. 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 Haida stories about Raven have to do with his frivolous or poorly thought out behavior causing trouble for him and the people around him. Xhuuya, Raven's personal name, is pronounced similar to khoo-yah; Nankil'slas, a title meaning "voice handler," is pronounced similar to nahn-kill-stloss (sometimes spelled Nang Kilstlas, Nankilstlas, Nunkilslas, or Nekilstlas.) Raven is also occasionally referred to by Haida storytellers as Yaahl (the literal Haida word for "raven," pronounced similar to "yall") or Wiigit (Raven's name in the neighboring Tsimshian tribe, pronounced wee-git in Haida.) It is typical of Haida culture for men to acquire several different names in their lifetimes-- especially powerful and distinguished men-- so no Haida people would be confused by Raven's many names.

Property Woman: A spirit woman with curly hair who brings prosperity to anybody who catches sight of her.

Haida Indian Myths

*Transforming Beings:
    Overview of Haida and other Northwest Coast Indian storytelling and myth..
*Legends of the Old Massett Haida:
    Audio recordings of Haida story-tellers narrating twenty traditional stories.
The Thunderbird Tootooch Legends:
    Online collection of Kwakiutl and Haida myths and folktales.
*Haida Creation Myth:
    Haida legend about the creation of the world.
*The Flood:
    Haida myth about the flooding of the earth.
*The Bear and his Indian Wife * Bear Mother:
    Haida story about a woman who married a bear.
*Origin of the Gnawing Beaver
    Haida tale of the Beaver Crest.
*The Devil-Fish's Daughter
    Haida story about a man who became an octopus ("devilfish.")
*Salmon Boy:
    Haida myth of a boy who turned into a salmon.
*How Raven Brought Light To The World:
    Haida Indian myth about the origin of the sun and moon.
*The Man Who Married an Eagle:
    Haida story about a man who joined the Eagle village.
*Eh-Kolie, the Whale:
    Haida myth about the trickster Raven's misadventures with a whale.
*The Cannibal Who Was Burned:
    A resourceful Haida boy defeats a cannibal ogre.
*Master-Carpenter And South-East:
    A mythical Haida hero's battle with the wind.
*The Coming Of The Salmon:
    Haida legend of the origin of salmon.
*Wolf and the Sea:
    Haida legend of the origin of orca (killer whales.)
*Haida Songs:
    Collection of Haida epics and sacred songs.

Recommended Books on Haida Mythology

Heroes and Heroines of Tlingit-Haida Legend:
    Excellent anthology of Tlingit and Haida legends.
Myths and Legends of Haida Indians of the Northwest:
    Another good collection of traditional Haida stories.
*Mouse Woman and the Mischief Makers * Mouse Woman and the Muddleheads * Mouse Woman and the Vanished Princesses :
    Lively retellings of three Haida legends about a mouse goddess.
American Indian Trickster Tales:
    Compilation of more than a hundred stories about Raven and other Native American tricksters.
    (Use discretion sharing these with kids as some of the stories contain adult humor.)

Additional Resources

 Haida religion and expressive traditions
 Books of Native American legends
 Indian religion
 Alaska Indian tribes
 Northwest Native tribes
 Pacific Northwest Native art
 Athabaskan languages
 Haida culture
 American Indian peoples



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