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Native Languages of the Americas:
Hidatsa Indian Legends

This is our collection of links to Hidatsa 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 Hidatsas, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Mandan and Arikara tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Hidatsa Mythological Figures

First Creator: Coyote, the creator god of the Hidatsas. Unlike most Siouan tribes, the Mandans and Hidatsas did not consider Coyote as a buffoon or trickster character, but as a powerful benefactor to humanity.

Spotted-Tail: Coyote's clan cousin and sidekick, who often plays practical jokes at his cousin's expense.

Lodge-Boy and Spring-Boy (Hidatsa names Atutish and Mahaash, also spelled A-tu-tish, Ma-hash, Mahash, and other ways): These mythical twins whose mother was killed by a monster are common to the folklore of many Midwestern and Eastern tribes. After slaying four monsters the boys were given the collective war name Macee Nuubash (meaning Twin Men or Two Men,) by which they are also sometimes known. They are portrayed as heroic monster-slayers in Hidatsa legends, and Spring-Boy's suffering at the hands of their enemies was the origin of the Hidatsa Sun Dance.

Charred Body: The uncle of the twins, Charred Body is a Hidatsa culture hero who led the people to the earth from their original home in the sky. However, he also introduced murder to the world by killing a woman who insulted him.

Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies: Spirit of the corn, who taught the Hidatsas the arts of agriculture.

Dahu: The Thunderbird, an enormous eagle spirit whose beating wings cause thunder.

Man With No Head: A man-eating monster with a gaping mouth but no head.

Hidatsa Indian Folklore

*Hidatsa Creation Myth: * Charred Body and First Creator:
    Hidatsa myth about the beginning of the world.
*Lodge-Boy and Spring-Boy:
    Story of the Hidatsa Twins and the origin of the Sundance or Hide-Beating ceremony.
*Unknown One, Son of Two Men:
    Hidatsa legends about the son of the mythic Twins.
*The Sun Dance:
    Hidatsa story about a Sundancer winning his wife.
*Kadhutetash and the Corn Ceremony:
    Legend behind the Hidatsa Corn Ceremony.
*Hidatsa Myth and Legend:
    Early 20th-century collection of Hidatsa legends.

Recommended Books on Hidatsa Mythology
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Hidatsa Texts:
    Collection of Hidatsa legends and folktales.
Mandan-Hidatsa Myths and Ceremonies:
    Anthropology text on the religious beliefs and traditions of the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes.
Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden:
    Interesting book about Native American farming traditions narrated by a Hidatsa woman.
Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies:
    Anthology of folklore from the Minitaree (Hidatsa) and other Northern Plains tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Hidatsa religion and expressive traditions
 Indian books of legends
 American Indian beliefs
 Hidatsa language
 Hidatsa tribe
 North Dakota Indian reservations
 The Plains Native Americans
 Siouan linguistics
 Native peoples of North America

Back to Native American gods and spirits
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Learn more about the Hidatsa culture.

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