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Native Languages of the Americas:
Quileute Legends

This is our collection of links to Quileute 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 Quileute mythology, the traditional stories of neighboring tribes like the Makah and Skagit tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Quileute Mythological Figures

Q'wati (also spelled K'wati, Kweheti, Kwatee, Q'waeti, K'wa'iti, Qati, Kwati, Qwati, K'wa'iti, and several other ways.) Q'wati is the benevolent culture hero of Quileute legends, frequently referred to in English as the Transformer. His name is pronounced similar to kwatt-ee, only the "k" is pronounced further back in the throat than English "k" and with a catch in the throat after it. The same character is called Dukwibal or Dokibatt in the Puget Sound Salish tribes, Xelas or Haylas in the Coast Salish tribes, and Misp' or Musp in the Quinault tribe. Q'wati is usually credited with creating the Quileute Indian tribe and their neighbors, teaching them right behavior and cultural skills, and protecting them by changing the environment and getting rid of monsters.

Raven (Bayaq or Bayak, in the Quileute language.) Raven is the trickster figure of the Quileute legends. The Quileute pronunciation of his name is similar to bah-yuck. Raven is a clever and generally benign figure who sometimes helps the Quileute tribe, but he also has many character traits that are viewed negatively in Quileute culture (greed, laziness, arrogance, deceitfulness, and rudeness) and many Quileute legends and stories have to do with Raven misbehaving and getting into trouble because of it.

Thunderbird (T'ist'ilal or Tistilal, in the Quileute language.) The Thunderbird is an important figure throughout Northwest Coast mythology. In Quileute, its name is pronounced similar to tiss-tih-lall. The Thunderbird is described by the Quileutes as a bird large enough to carry a whale in its claws, whose beating wings make thunder.

Dask'iya (also spelled Dassk'iya, Daskiya, and other ways.) Dask'iya is a cannibal ogress in Quileute stories, sometimes known as a "basket ogress" or "basket woman." She is said to capture children in her basket and carry them home to eat them. Legends about Dask'iya are told to frighten Quileute children and warn them away from bad behavior. Her name is pronounced similar to dusk-ee-yuh.

Are the "Cold Ones" from Twilight a real Quileute legend?

No. There are no Quileute legends about "Cold Ones" or other vampires. Stephenie Meyer, the author of the "Twilight" books, has stated that she made this fictional vampire legend up herself and only had her Quileute character tell it for the purposes of her plot. However, she did base other parts of her books on real Quileute Indian myths. For example, it is true that according to legend the Quileute tribe is descended from wolves who were changed into men. Even the tribal name "Quileute" comes from their word for wolf, Kwoli.

What about Apotamkin (or Apotampkin)? Is that really the name of a vampire in Quileute mythology?

No. Apotamkin really is a genuine monster from Native American mythology, which is probably why its name appeared in the search results while Bella was looking for information about Native American vampires in the movie. In reality, though, myths about Apotamkin come from the Maliseet and Passamaquoddy tribes, who live on the east coast (thousands of miles from the Quileutes.) Also, Apotamkin was not actually a vampire in real Native American legends. It was a sea serpent. You can read some more about Apotamkin at this link: Apotamkin.

Quileute and Hoh Indian Folklore

*Quileute Creation Myth:
    How Q'wati created the tribes of the Olympic Peninsula, including transforming a wolf pack into the first Quileutes.
*Raven Tales:
    A collection of traditional Bayak (Raven) legends presented by the Quileute Nation.
*Quillayute Legends:
    Two Quileute legends about the Thunderbird.
*Thunderbird Myths:
    Hoh, Tillamook, and Quileute Indian stories about Thunderbird.
*Dask'iya' Is Killed By A Girl:
    Quileute story about a resourceful girl who defeated the child-eating monster Dask'iya.
*Weather Myths of Cascadia:
    Legends from the Quileute, Hoh, Makah, and Klallam tribes.
*When Raven Stole Fire:
    Quillayute legend about the origin of fire.

Recommended Quileute Books
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

*The Ceremonial Societies Of The Quileute Indians:
    Anthropology book on traditional Quileute religious customs.
*Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula:
    The culture and history of the Quileutes and their neighbors, written by tribal members.
*Quileute Texts:
    Book of Quileute myths and traditional stories, in Quileute with English translations.
Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest:
    Collection of legends and folktales from the Quileute and other northwestern tribes.
American Indian Trickster Tales:
    Compilation of more than a hundred stories about Raven and other Native American tricksters.
    (Use discretion sharing these with kids as some of the stories contain adult humor.)

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Additional Resources

  Quileute religion and expressive traditions
 Religion of Native Americans
  Quileute language
  Quileute Indians
  Washington State Indian tribes
  Pacific Northwest tribes
  Northwest artists
 List of Native American tribes by region

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