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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 let us know.
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.
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.
A violent race of magical little people who were said to kill and eat people.
Mysterious and dangerous water spirits from the mythology of the Paiute and other Western Indian
tribes. They inhabit springs and ponds, and are usually described as water fairies who lead humans to a watery grave
by mimicking the sounds of crying babies at night. Sometimes they are said to kill babies and take their place as changelings.
In Northern Paiute traditions, respectful treatment and offerings are often considered to ward off violence by the water babies.
Paiute legend about the origin of Pyramid Lake.
Why the North Star Stands Still:
Paiute legend about a mountain sheep who became a star.
Legend about Coyote's people, the Shoshones and Paiutes.
Coyote and the Sun:
Paiute legend about Coyote's trip to the sun.
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:
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links
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.)
Indian spiritual beliefs
Indian tribes of Nevada
Great Basin Indians
Uto Aztecan languages
List of American Indian nations
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