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Native Languages of the Americas:
O'odham Legends and Traditional Stories

This is our collection of links to Akimel O'odham (Pima) and Tohono O'odham (Papago) folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American 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 O'odham tribes, the traditional stories of the Yaqui and other Southwestern tribes are very similar.

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

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Important O'odham Mythological Figures

I'itoi (also known as I'ithi, Si'ihe, Se'ehe, Se:he, or Siuuhu): Elder Brother, the culture hero of the Akimel and Tohono O'odham tribes. He was the creator of the human race and taught the people many things.

O'odham Indian Folklore

*Aw-aw-tam Indian Nights (Myths and Legends of the Pima):
    Online collection of traditional Pima stories.
*Chuhwuht: the Song of the World * Papago Creation Story * Creation Of Man-Kind And The Flood:
    The Creation Of The World: * Pima Creation Myth:
    Creation myths of the Akimel and Tohono O'odham.
*Papago Literature:
    Legends and oral history in English and Tohono O'odham.
*The Seer Who Would Not See * Montezuma and the Great Flood * The Flood On Superstition Mountain:
    Pima legends about the flooding of the earth.
*The Transformed Grandmother:
    O'odham story about two children who escape from their grandmother's skeleton.
*Tale of Elder Brother:
    Pima legends about the epic life of their great hero, Elder Brother.
*Bluebird and the Coyote * How the Bluebird Got Its Color:
    O'odham tales about Bluebird and Coyote trying to become blue.
*How The Butterflies Came To Be * Butterflies:
    Tohono O'odham stories about the origin of butterflies.
*Coyote in the Moon:
    Pima legend about a theft by Coyote gone awry.
*How The Rattlesnake Learned To Bite:
    Pima legends about the animal spirits in the old days.
*Origin Of The Saguaro And Palo Verde Cacti:
    Pima tale about two boys who turned into plants.
*Coyote And The Quails:
    Pima tale about Coyote being tricked by a group of quails.
*Coyote's Eyes:
    Pima legend of how Coyote got yellow eyes.
*The Legend of Eagleman:
    Pima myth about a young man turned into a monster.
*The Well-Baked Man:
    Amusing Pima legend about the creation of dogs and men.
*Why The Apaches Are Fierce:
    Pima legend about the Apache tribe.
The Children of Cloud:
    Pima legend about the adventures of Cloud's twin sons.
*Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest:
    Online book about Southwest and California Indian mythology.

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

Pima Indian Legends:
    Collection of Akimel O'odham legends and traditional tales.
And It Is Still That Way:
    Charming anthology of legends told by Tohono O'odham and other Arizona Indian children.
Soft Child:
    Children's book illustrating a Southwest Indian legend about how the rattlesnake got its fangs.

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Additional Resources

 Pima-Papago religion and expressive traditions
 Papago Indians
 Pima Indians
 O'odham language
 Indian beliefs and customs
 Indian tribes of Arizona
 Southwest Indian tribes
 Southwest rugs
 List of American Indian groups

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