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Native Languages of the Americas:
Washo Legends and Traditional Stories

This is our collection of links to Washo folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our American Indian legends section by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same story 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 Washo, the mythology of related tribes like the Maidu and Paiute Indians are very similar.

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

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Washo Mythological Figures

Water Babies: In Washo stories, the Water Babies were small nature spirits that lived in lakes and rivers. They had magic powers and could be dangerous, but would often help people who approached them with respect.

Ong: A huge roc-like bird monster that carried off and ate people.

Washo Indian Folklore

*Washoe Legend Creatures:
    Washoe stories about water babies and the Ong bird.

Recommended Books on Washo Myth
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Washo Tales: Three Original Washo Indian Legends:
    Book of Washo folklore.
Washo Texts:
    Traditional stories in the Washo language, with English translation.
*Mythology of Southern California:
    Early 20th-century collection of Washo and other California Indian legends.

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Additional Resources

 Washoe religion and expressive traditions
 Native American religious traditions
 Washoe words
 Washo Indians
 Nevada Indian tribes
 Southwestern cultures
 Southwest Indian art
 Hokan Indian tribe
 Maps of Native American tribes

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