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Native Languages of the Americas:
Halkomelem/Cowichan Indian Legends

This is our collection of links to Halkomelem and Cowichan 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 Halkomelems, the traditional stories of other Salishan tribes like the Squamish and Snohomish tribes are very similar.

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

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Cowichan/Halkomelem Mythological Figures

Xa:ls (also spelled Xals, Hals, Kals, Xex:ls, and other ways): A Transformer figure, common to the mythology of many Northwest Coast tribes, who brought balance to the world by using his powers to change people, animals, and the landscape into the forms they have today.

Chichel Siya:m: The Creator God of the Halkomelem and other Coast Salish tribes.

Raven: Raven is the culture hero of Cowichan and Halkomelem legend. He is a benevolent figure who helps the people, but at the same time, he is also a trickster spirit and many Cowichan legends about Raven have to do with his frivolous or poorly thought out behavior getting him into trouble.

Mink: Mink is another Coast Salish trickster character. Indeed, some of Raven's more light-hearted adventures are sometimes told with Mink as the protagonist instead. However, compared with Raven, Mink is a more negative character who primarily embodies traits that are looked down upon by the Salish people (greed, recklessness, arrogance, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, etc.) Cowichan stories about Mink are often humorous, but also are cautionary tales about how not to behave.

Sasquatch (Sasq'ets in the Halkomelem language, also spelled Sesq'ec, Sesqec, Sacsquec, Saskehavas, Sesquac, and other ways): This is the most famous legendary "bigfoot" creature. According to Sto:lo: and Cowichan myths, Sasq'ets was a powerful but generally benign supernatural creature in the shape of a very large, hairy wild man. Its Halkomelem name is pronounced similar to sess-k-uts.

Basket Ogress: A giant cannibal woman who catches human children and carries them off in her enormous pack basket.

Halkomelem/Cowichan Indian Folklore

*A Great Flood:
    Cowichan myth about the flooding of the earth.
*Who Was Given The Fire:
    Cowichan myth about the origin of fire.
*Origin Of The .Sxo'exo'e Mask:
    Sto:lo: legend about the sacred sxwo:yxwey mask.

Recommended Books on Cowichan and Halkomelem Mythology

    Illustrated story-book about the Sto:lo sasquatch, in English and Halkomelem.
History and Folklore of the Cowichan Indians:
    Collection of Cowichan legends and folktales.
Salish Myths and Legends:
    Anthology of legends and traditional stories from the Halkomelem and other Salish tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Halkomelem religion and expressive traditions
 Halkomelem words
 Books of Native American legends
 Native beliefs
 Northwest Coast Indians
 Washington Native American tribes
 Salish languages
 Northwest Native art
 Native Indian tribes

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