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

This is our collection of links to Okanagan and Sanpoil folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our American Indian folklore 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 Okanagan tribe, the traditional stories of the Thompson and other Salishan tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Okanagan Mythological Figures

Coyote: The trickster hero of the Okanagan, Colville, and other Interior Salish tribes. Coyote is foolish and boastful, and so Okanagan stories about him are often humorous in nature; however, he is a well-meaning creature who usually acts for the good of humankind.

Okanagan, Colville, and Sanpoil Indian Folklore

*Creation of the Animal People:
    Okanogan creation myth.
*Woodpecker and the Theft of Fire:
    Sanpoil legend about the origin of fire.
*Coyote's Salmon:
    Coyote teaches the Sanpoils to harvest salmon.
*The Bear Woman:
    Okanagon legend about a woman kidnapped by a grizzly bear.
*Dirty Boy:
    Okanagon legend about a woman who married the sun.
*Coyote And The Buffalo:
    Colville legend about why buffalo don't live near Kettle Falls.
*Coyote Quarrels With Mole:
    Colville legend about Coyote fighting with his wife.
*Spirit Chief Names The Animal People:
    Colville legend about the naming of the Chip-chap-tiqulk.
*Chipmunk And Meadow-Lark:
    Sanpoil legend about two children attacked by a monster.
*Coyote Becomes Chief of the Salmon:
    Sanpoil legends about the adventures of Coyote.
*How The Cold Lost Its Power:
    Sanpoil story about the origin of the seasons.
*The Five Wolves:
    Sanpoil story about a boy who turned into a chickadee.
*The Origin of Different Languages:
    Sanpoil story about a quarrel between tribes.
*The Rolling Stone:
    Sanpoil story about Coyote getting in trouble with a grasshopper family.
*The Tick and the Deer:
    Sanpoil story about the origin of the wood tick.
*Turtle and the Eagle:
    Colville folktale about Turtle winning a race.

Recommended Books on Okanagan Mythology
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Salish Myths and Legends:
    Anthology of legends and traditional stories from the Colville, Okanagan and other Salish tribes.
Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest:
    Collection of legends and folktales from the Okanogan and other northwestern tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Colville salmon ceremony
 Native American beliefs and practices
 Okanagan Indians
 Okanogan language
 Indian tribes of Washington
 The Great Plateau
 Salishan family
 List of Native American tribes in the United States

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