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

This is our collection of links to Wintu stories and folktales that can be read online. We have indexed our Indian mythology 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 Wintus, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Hoopa and Pomo tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Wintu Mythological Figures

Coyote: Coyote is the trickster figure of the Wintu tribe. He is clever but reckless, and is constantly getting himself and the people around him into trouble with his irresponsible and socially inappropriate behavior. As in the mythology of many California Indian tribes, Wintu Coyote stories range from humorous tales of mischief to more serious legends about the nature of the world.

Wintu Indian Folklore

*The Rolling Head:
    Wintu version of a common California Indian tale about a girl who violates taboos and becomes a rolling-head monster.
*The Great Fire:
    Patwin myth about Coyote saving the world from a fire.
*The Origin of Clear Lake:
    Patwin legend about a local lake.
*A Rattlesnake Kills The Chief's Daughter:
    Wintu story about a mother's revenge on the rattlesnakes.
    Wintu legend about a dangerous mythical creature.
*Bat And His Wives:
    Wintu story about why the bat is blind.
*Coyote Takes Water from the Frogs:
    Wintun story about how Coyote distributed water to the people.
*Wintu and Yana Myths:
    Online collection of Yana and Wintu myths and legends.
*Mythology of the California Tribes:
    Early 20th-century collection of Wintun and other California Indian legends.

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Recommended Books on Wintu Mythology
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Surviving Through the Days: Translations of Native California Stories and Songs:
    Anthology of myths and traditional literature from the Wintu and other Native California tribes.

Additional Resources

 Wintu religion and expressive traditions
 Native American religious traditions
 Wintu Indians
 Wintu language
 List of Native American tribes in California
 California Indian map
 Native American tribes map

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