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Native Languages of the Americas:
Pawnee Legends, Myths, and 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 other Plains Indians like the Arikara and Lakota 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 let us know.

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Important Pawnee Mythological Figures

Tirawa Atius: 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.

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 Pawnee mythology. 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.

Huhuk: The Thunderbird, an enormous bird spirit whose beating wings cause thunder.

Burnt-Belly: An orphan hero of Pawnee folklore.

Red Woman: A sinister ogress who dismembers and sometimes eats people.

Scalped Man: 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): 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!

Pawnee Indian Folklore

*The Girl Who Was The Ring:
    Pawnee legend of a girl kidnapped by the buffalo people.
*The Woman Who Became A Horse:
    Skidi Pawnee story about a woman transformed into a horse.
*Making The Sacred Bundle:
    Pawnee myth about a man who married a buffalo woman.
*The Prisoners of Court House Rock:
    Pawnee story about some warriors who escaped from a Sioux siege.
*The Cheyenne Blanket:
    Pawnee tale about a youth who outwitted a Cheyenne camp.
*Pawnee Creation Myth:
    Pawnee myth about the beginning of the world.
*Big Turtle's War Party:
    Humorous story about Turtle's bungling attempt to attack a Pawnee camp.
*A Pawnee Apocalyptic Myth:
    Pawnee beliefs about the end of the world.
*The Medicine Grizzly Bear:
    Pawnee legend about a boy who learned bear medicine.
*The Mud Pony:
    Pawnee legend of a boy and his magical horse.
*The Offended Rolling Stone:
    Coyote picks on the wrong stone and pays the price.

Recommended Books of Pawnee Myths
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Hold Up The Sky:
    Anthology of legends from the Pawnee and other Southern Plains tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Pawnee religion and expressive traditions
 Indian spiritual beliefs
 Pawnee Indians
 Pawnee language
 Indian tribes of Kansas
 Plains Native American tribes
 Caddo languages
 Names of Native American tribes in the United States

Learn more about the Pawnee Indian tribe.
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