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Native American Transformers of Myth and Legend

The name "Transformer" comes from Salishan tribes of the Northwest Coast, where it is a literal translation of the name of a certain type of mythological figure or god (also rendered as "Changer" or "He Who Changes.") These Transformer characters are very prominent throughout the Northwest Coast. In some tribal traditions, the Transformer figure creates men from animals, animals from men, or both; in all of them, he transforms the landscape and changes monsters into ordinary creatures or inanimate objects. In some tribes, the Trickster and Transformer characters have merged together, usually in the character of Coyote or Raven (who are sometimes referred to as "Trickster-Transformer figures" for that reason.)

Although the name "Transformer" comes from the Northwest Coast and is not used by tribes from other regions, the character traits of the Transformer figure-- and some of the typical Transformer stories-- are sometimes ascribed to culture heroes or other mythological figures throughout Native North America. For this reason, those heroes and gods are often referred to as transformers by folklorists as well, even if their transformation of the world may be secondary to their monster-slaying adventures, teaching of civilization and culture to the people, and/or trickster behavior.

List of Native American Transformers Figures from Various Tribes

As'aiyahatl (Tillamook Indain Transformer)
Coyote (Interior Salish and California Indian Transformer)
Daldal (Takelma Indian Transformer)
Dukwibal/Dokibatt (Lushootseed Indian Transformer)
Gluskap (Wabanaki Indian Transformer)
Ha'telt! (Coos Indian Transformer)
Iyash (Ojibwe/Cree Transformer Character)
Kanekelak/Kanikwi'lakw (Kwakiutl Transformer Character)
Keri and Kami (Bakairi Indian Transformers)
Kohkumthena (Shawnee Indian Transformer)
Kumsno'otl (Comox Indian Transformer)
Moshup (Wampanoag Indian Transformer)
Misp/Musp (Quinault Transformer Figure)
Nanabozho (Anishinabe Transformer Figure)
Niatha (Arapaho Indian Transformer)
Nixant (Gros Ventre Transformer)
Odzihozo (Abenaki Indian Transformer)
Old-Man and Old-Woman(Blackfoot Indian Transformers)
Qa:ls/Hals (Halkomelem Indian Transformer)
Qone (Chehalis Indian Transformer)
Q'wati/Kwatee (Quileute Indian Transformer)
Raven (Alaskan Indian Transformer)
Shikla (Chinook Indian Transformers)
Sibu (Bribri Transformer Character)
Tsaya (Beaver Transformer Character)
Veeho (Cheyenne Indian Transformer)
Wanderer (Alsea Indian Transformer)
Wetucks (Narragansett Indian Transformer)
Wisaka (Sauk-Fox-Kickapoo Transformer)
Wisakedjak (Cree Indian Transformer)
Xelas (Straits Salish Transformer Character)
Xowaelaci (Tututni Transformer Character)
Yamozha (Dene Indian Transformer)

Native American Transformer Stories

*The Great Transformer Odzihozo:
    Transformer legend of the Abenaki Indians, with a picture of the rock island Odzihozo turned himself into.
*Koluskap Stories from Wolastoqiyik * Kluskap Transformer Tales * Glooscap Myths:
    Stories about the adventures of the Wabanaki trickster-transformer hero Glooskap.
*Creation of the Earth:
    Transformer legends about the culture hero Wisaka creating the world and making it right for the Potawatomi people.
*Quileute Transformer Story:
    The legend of the Quileute transformer character changing a wolf pack into the first Quileutes.
*Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things:
    Makah Transformers legend about two primordial gods and the beginning of the world.

Recommended Books about Transformers in Native American Mythology

Since the Time of the Transformers:
    Interesting book on Nuu-chah-nulth and Makah culture and history, particularly Northwest Coast Native transformer gods.
On the Trail of Elder Brother:
    A good collection of traditional Transformer stories told by a Mi'kmaq author and illustrator.
Gluskabe Stories:
    Audiotape of Algonquian Transformers legends, expertly told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.



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