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Native American Bobcat Mythology

Bobcat plays a very negative role in the traditional stories of some tribes. He is greedy, selfish, and disregards social rules. A man who has a bad temper or acts like a jerk to women is called a "bobcat" in the Hopi language. In some Southwestern tribes, it is considered bad luck to see a bobcat.

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But in other tribes, such as the Mohave and Zuni tribes, Bobcat was believed to have hunting medicine. Zuni hunters kept stone effigies of bobcats as one of their six hunting fetishes, associating bobcats with the south and the color red. And in the Pawnee tribe, Bobcat is a more mythologically important character associated with the stars. Pawnee parents used to wrap their babies in bobcat furs to bring them celestial blessings.

Bobcat is also used as a clan animal in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Bobcat Clans include the Creek (whose Wildcat or Bobcat Clan is named Koakotsalgi or Kowakkucvlke) and the Chickasaw.

Native American Bobcat Gods and Spirits

Tokoch Kachina (Hopi)

Native American Legends About Bobcats

*The Wolf, the Fox, the Bobcat and the Cougar:
    Native American legend about a bobcat spirit that helped the Shoshone-Bannocks defeat the warlike Little People.
*Old Man and the Squirrels:
    Blackfoot legend explaining how bobcats got their bobtails.

Recommended Books of Bobcat Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Coyote and Bobcat Story:
    Picture book based on a Navajo Indian legend about the origins of Bobcat and Coyote.
Great Rabbit and the Long-Tailed Wildcat:
    Children's book illustrating an Algonquin Indian story about how Bobcat lost his tail.
Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies:
    Book by a Karuk elder about the meanings of Indian animal spirits, including a chapter on bobcats.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.



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