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Native Languages of the Americas:
Nootka Legends, Myths, and Stories

This is our collection of links to Nootka folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American myths 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 Nootka tribe, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Kwakiutl and Bella Bella are very similar.

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

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Important Nootka Mythological Figures

Kwe'kustepsep (also spelled Kwi:kwistupsap and other ways): Twin Transformer figures, who brought balance to the world by using their powers to change people, animals, and the landscape into the forms they have today.

Raven: Raven is the culture hero of the Nootka myths. He is a revered and benevolent figure who helps the people, but at the same time, he is also a trickster character and many Nootka stories about Raven have to do with his frivolous or poorly thought out behavior getting him into trouble.

Mink: Mink is another Nootka trickster character. Indeed, some of Raven's more light-hearted adventures are sometimes told with Mink as the protagonist instead. However, compared with Raven, Mink is a more negative character who primarily embodies traits that are looked down upon by the Nootka people (greed, recklessness, arrogance, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, etc.) Nootka legends about Mink are often humorous, but also are cautionary tales about how not to behave.

Woman of the Woods (also called the Basket Ogress): A giant cannibal woman who catches human children and carries them off in her enormous pack basket.

Nootka Indian Folklore

    Story of the Nootka spirit monster Matlose.
Raven Annoys Octopus:
    Nootka legend about Raven the trickster learning his lesson about pestering Octopus.
*Mythology of the Nootkas:
    Early 20th-century collection of Nootka legends.

Recommended Books on Nootka Myth
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Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview:
    Excellent book about Nuu-chah-nulth mythology and traditions.

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Additional Resources

 Nootka religion and expressive traditions
 Native American Indian beliefs
 Nuu-Chah-Nulth language
 British Columbia Native culture
 Native Northwest Coast
 Pacific Northwest art exhibit
 Native American culture groups

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