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Native American Stories About Evil

People, animals, and even monsters are rarely described as "evil" in traditional Native American legends. More often it is their actions (such as murder, treachery, and tormenting others) that are described as evil or morally wrong.

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This may seem like a small distinction, but since many Native American folktales are intended as teaching stories, it is important for them to discourage children from bad behavior, not to condemn them for "being bad." In stories for adults, meanwhile, trickster characters and dangerous nature spirits will sometimes do evil deeds on one occasion and good deeds on another. The world isn't so simple that you can just trust Fire, or Coyote, to behave the same way they did the last time you saw them. When truly evil spirits do appear in Native American stories, they are usually found in serious mythology about the beginning of the world and the emergence of gods and culture heroes who must fight against them. There are also a few evil monsters in the legends of some tribes, such as skinwalkers or flying heads, that are created through bad witchcraft or wicked deeds and continue to wreak evil on humanity until they are killed. But in many Native American storytelling traditions, even a villain or vicious monster still has a chance of being redeemed.

Native American Evil Spirits

Anamaqkiu (Menominee)
Atlantow (Mohican)
Bad Spirit (Cayuga)
Flint (Iroquois and Algonquian)
Hobbamock (Wampanoag)
Kenaima (Carib)
Mahtantu (Lenape)
Okee (Powhatan)

Legends About Evil

*Mi'kmaq Flood Myth:
    Micmac Indian legend about the flooding of the earth caused by the wickedness of the people.
*Iktomi, Two Widows, and the Red Plums * Trickster Kills The Children:
    Plains Indian legends about the darker side of tricksters-- in these cases, murdering the children of incautious parents.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

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