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Native Languages of the Americas:
Umatilla Indian Legends, Myths, and Stories

This is our collection of links to Umatilla stories and folktales that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American 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 Umatillas, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Yakima and Walla Walla tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Umatilla Mythological Figures

Coyote (Ispilyay): Coyote is the trickster character of the Umatilla tribe. As in other Plateau Indian mythology, Umatilla stories about Coyote range from light-hearted tales of mischief and buffoonery to more serious legends about the nature of the world.

Umatilla Indian Folklore

*Umatilla Legends and Oral Histories:
    Two traditional tales from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
*The Bears:
    Umatilla Sahaptin legend about five jealous grizzly bear women.
*Umatilla Folklore:
    Umatilla legend about a man who turned into a bird.
*Little People of Oregon and Washington:
    Stories about the legendary little people of the Umatilla and other Northwestern tribes.

Recommended Books on Umatilla Myth
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As Days Go By:
    Interesting book of mythology and history of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla tribes.
Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country:
    Excellent collection of folklore from the Umatilla and other Oregon tribes.
Tales of Coyote and Other Legends:
    Children's book of Warm Springs legends.

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Additional Resources

 Umatilla religion and expressive traditions
 Indian customs and beliefs
 Umatilla tribe
 Oregon Indian reservations
 Plateau Native American tribes
 Penutian language group
 Tenino culture
 List of Indian reservations by state

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