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Native Languages of the Americas:
Paiute Indian Legends

This is our collection of links to Paiute folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Indian 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 Paiutes, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Ute and Shoshone tribes are very similar.

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

Important Paiute Mythological Figures

Isa/Wolf: Creator and culture hero of the Paiute tribe. Like other figures from the Paiute mythic age, Wolf is usually represented as a man, but sometimes takes on the literal form of a wolf.

Coyote: Wolf's younger brother, Coyote is a trickster spirit. Though he often assists his brother and sometimes even does good deeds for the people, Coyotes behavior is so irresponsible and frivolous that he is constantly getting himself and those around him into trouble.

Nimerigar: A violent race of magical little people who were said to kill and eat people.

Paiute Indian Folklore

*Stone Mother:
    Paiute legend about the origin of Pyramid Lake.
*Why the North Star Stands Still:
    Paiute legend about a mountain sheep who became a star.
*Coyote:
    Legend about Coyote's people, the Shoshones and Paiutes.
*Coyote and the Sun:
    Paiute legend about Coyote's trip to the sun.
*Tse'nahaha:
    Paiute legend about a woman's escape from a cannibal monster.
*Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest:
    Online book about Southwest and California Indian mythology.

Recommended Books on Paiute Mythology

Pahute Indian legends:
    Collection of Paiute legends and traditional stories.
Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country:
    Excellent anthology of folklore from the Northern Paiute and other Oregon tribes.
American Indian Trickster Tales:
    Compilation of more than a hundred stories about Coyote and other Native American tricksters.
    (Use discretion sharing these with kids as some of the stories contain adult humor.)

Additional Resources

 Paiute religion and expressive traditions
 Northern Shoshone and Bannock religion
 Paiute words
 Books of Native American legends
 Native beliefs
 Indian tribes of Nevada
 Great Basin Indians
 Uto-Aztecan languages
 Paiute culture
 Indians culture



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