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Native Languages of the Americas:
Koyukon Indian Legends

This is our collection of links to Koyukon folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American mythology 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 Koyukon, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Gwichin and Ingalik tribes are very similar.

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

Important Koyukon Mythological Figures

Raven (Dotson 'sa or Dotson'sa in the Koyukon language): Raven is the creator god of the Koyukon and other Alaskan Athabaskan tribes. 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 Koyukon stories about Raven have to do with his frivolous or poorly thought out behavior getting him into trouble.

K'etetaalkkaanee (also spelled K't-talqani or other ways, and sometimes known as Betohoh or Betoxox): A heroic monster-slayer in Koyukon folklore, known in English as the Wanderer or Transformer. Frequently he uses his cleverness rather than his strength to defeat his enemies, at which point he either kills them or transforms them into something harmless. K'etetaalkkaanee is also credited with the invention of the first canoe. He is identified with the beaver, and some Koyukon story-tellers give him the name Smart Beaver, Wise Beaver, or Beaver Man.

Nik'inla'eena' (also known as Nik'il'eena): The Woodsman, a hairy wild man of the forest. His name literally means "sneaks about," for he moves through the wilderness silently and rarely reveals himself to humans. Frequently he steals things or causes other minor mischief, and in some stories has been said to capture Athabaskan children.

Koyukon Indian Stories

*Athabascans of Interior Alaska: When People Meet Animals:
    Legends and traditional stories from the Tanana, Koyukon, and Tanaina tribes.
*Raven's Athabaskan Tales:
    Online collection of seven Koyukon and other Alaskan Athabaskan legends about the trickster hero Raven.

Recommended Books on Koyukon Myth

Bekk'aatugh Ts'uhuney: Stories We Live By :
    Collection of Koyukon legends and traditional tales.
Our Voices: Native Stories of Alaska and the Yukon:
    Excellent anthology of legends and oral history from the Koyukon and other Athabaskan tribes.
Myths and Legends of Alaska:
    Collection of folklore from the Koyukon and other Alaskan tribes.

Additional Resources

 Books of Native American folktales
 Native American traditions
 Alaska Indian tribes
 Subarctic cultures
 Athabascan languages
 Native people



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