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

This is our collection of links to Karok 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 Karoks, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Shasta and Yurok tribes are very similar.

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

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Karok Mythological Figures

Ikxareyavs (also spelled Ikxaréeyavs, Ikxaréeyavs and other ways): The inhabitants of the mythic age (sometimes called "spirit people" in English.) Their physical state is very fluid in Karuk myths, and the Ikxareyavs are variously described as animals or natural phenomena at some times, or as humans at others. Eventually they transformed into the animals and plants as we know them today.

Coyote. Coyote is the best known of the Ikxareyavs, sometimes having the literal form of a coyote, other times a man. Karok stories about Coyote range from light-hearted tales of mischief and buffoonery to more serious legends about the nature of the world.

Karok Indian Myth

*Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest:
    Online book about Karuk and other California Indian mythology.
*Karuk History and Creation Story:
    Karuk legend about the origin of the world.
*Coyote Steals Fire * The Fire Race * The Theft of Fire * How Coyote Brought Fire:
    Karok legends about the origin of fire.
*The Devil Who Died Laughing:
    Karuk Indian myth in their original language with English translation.
*The Greedy Father:
    Karuk legend about a man transformed into a waterbird for being a bad provider.
*How Coyote Got His Cunning * Fable of the Animals:
    Karuk story about the origin of Coyote.

Recommended Books on Karuk Mythology

Surviving Through the Days: Translations of Native California Stories and Songs:
    Anthology of myths and traditional literature from the Karuk and other Native California tribes.
American Indian Trickster Tales:
    Compilation of more than a hundred stories about Coyote and other Native American tricksters.
    (Use discretion sharing these with kids as some of the stories contain adult humor.)

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Additional Resources

 Karok religion and expressive traditions
 Karuk Rituals and Beliefs
 The Religion of the Indians of California
 Books of Native American legends
 Native religions
 Karuk words
 California native tribes
 California cultural area
 Hokan languages
 Karok culture
 Native cultures

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