American Indian culture groups
The Indian heritage
Legendary Native American Figures: Inyan
Tribal affiliation: Lakota and Dakota Sioux
Alternate spellings: Iya
Type: Native American stone god
Inyan is the primordial stone spirit of Lakota and Dakota mythology. Sometimes he is also known as Tunkashila or Tunka,
"Grandfather." Inyan often represents the traditional ways, justice, and the earth. Some Dakota Sioux legends were recorded
in which Inyan was said to be the father of the trickster
Iktomi, but these are unusual stories and Inyan is not normally personified in
There are also some stories floating around out there claiming that Inyan is a good rock god, while Iya is an evil rock god.
This is definitely not the case. Inyan and Iya are exactly the same name-- which literally means "Rock"-- spelled in two
different Sioux orthographies (spelling systems.) Like all sacred nature spirits in Lakota and Dakota mythology,
Inyan is neither good nor evil... he simply is.
Coyote, Iktome, and the Rock:
Chickasaw myth about Iya punishing Coyote for his fickleness.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
The Sons of the Wind:
Good collection of Sioux legends told by a Lakota author.
Singing for a Spirit
South Dakota Indian
Plains American Indian
Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015 Contacts and FAQ page
Back to the list of American Indian gods
Back to Indian legends
Back to American Indian names
American Indian medicine man
Comanche Indians food
Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?