Native Languages of the Americas: Pawnee Legends and Traditional Stories
This is our collection of links to Pawnee 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 Pawnee tribe, the traditional stories of the
the Arikara and other Plains Indian tribes are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Pawnee legend for this page or think one of the ones on here
should be removed, please contact us and let us know.
Tiriwa Atius (or Tirawa Atius, or just Atius or Atiuch.)
This means "Father Above" in the Pawnee language, and is the Pawnee name for the Creator (God.) Sometimes the
Plains Indian term "Great Spirit" is also used. Tiriwa Atius is a divine spirit who is not generally personified in Caddo folklore.
Handsome Boy and Afterbirth Boy (or Good Boy and Long Tooth Boy.)
These mythical twins whose mother was killed by a monster are common to the folklore of many Midwestern and Eastern tribes.
They are generally portrayed as heroic monster-slayers in Pawnee legends.
Coyote (Skiriki or Skidiki, in the Pawnee language.)
Coyote is the trickster figure of the Pawnee tribe. As in other Plains Indian mythology, Coyote is sometimes anthropomorphized into
human form and other times depicted in the shape of a coyote (sometimes both within a single story.) Pawnee coyote stories range
from light-hearted tales of mischief and buffoonery, to more serious legends about the nature of the world, to ribald jokes.
Sharp-Elbows (or Two-Face.) Legendary man-eating ogres
who kill people with sharp spikes on the ends of their elbows.
A warrior who returned to life after being killed and scalped in battle and now roams the world
as a fearsome spirit being.
Witch-Woman (Ctu'u in Pawnee):
Stuwi is a woman of loose morals who features in many jokes and stories told among Pawnee men.
We have not included any Witch Woman stories on our website because they feature too much adult humor,
but you can find some of them on Google if you're so inclined!