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 contact us and let us know.
Xa:ls (also spelled Xals, Hals, Kals, Xexá: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.
The Creator God of the Halkomelem and other Coast Salish tribes.
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 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.
(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
A giant cannibal woman who catches human children and carries them off in her enormous pack basket.