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Maidu Indian Legends

This is our collection of links to Maidu folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American stories 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 Maidus, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Achumawi and Atsugewi tribes are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Maidu legend for this page, please let us know.

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Important Maidu Mythological Figures

Earth-Maker (Kodoyanpe, in the Maidu language, also known as Earth-Initiate): The benevolent Creator god of Maidu mythology.

Coyote: The Maidu trickster figure. Coyote is Earth-Maker's assistant in the creation of the world, and sometimes does things to help mankind. However, his failings of character (Coyote is portrayed as reckless, greedy, deceitful, careless, and socially inappropriate) are constantly getting him and the people around him into trouble.

Kohuneje: In Maidu stories, Kohuneje is a hairy Bigfoot-like monster who lives in the forest and eats human children.

Maidu Indian Folklore

*Maidu Texts:
    Collection of Maidu myths and legends.
*Tolowim Woman And Butterfly Man:
    Maidu legend about the fate of a fickle woman.
*Maidu Creation Myth:
    Maidu story of the origin of the world.
*The First Man And Woman:
    Nishinam (Southern Maidu) origin myth.
*The Theft of Fire:
    How fire came to the Maidu people.
*Why the Sun Follows the Moon:
    Maidu legend about the origin of the sun and moon.
*Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest:
    Online book about Southwest and California Indian mythology.

Recommended Books on Maidu Mythology

Surviving Through the Days: Translations of Native California Stories and Songs:
    Anthology of myths and traditional literature from the Maidu and other Native California tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Maidu religion and expressive traditions
 The Religion of the Indians of California
 Maidu words
 Books of Native American legends
 Native spirituality
 Native Americans in California
 California culture area
 Penutian languages
 Maidu culture
 Native Americans website

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