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Native Languages of the Americas:
Yakama Legends and Traditional Stories

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

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

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Important Yakama Mythological Figures

Coyote (Spilyáy or Spilyay, in the Yakama language): Coyote is the trickster figure of the Yakama tribe. As in other Plateau Indian mythology, Yakima stories about Coyote range from light-hearted tales of mischief and buffoonery to more serious legends about the nature of the world.

Yakama Indian Folklore

*Yakima Creation:
    Yakama myth about the creation of the world.
*The Stick People:
    Yakama legends about Ste-ye-hah'mah and the Little People.
*The Tah-tah-kle'-ah (Owl-Woman Monster):
    Yakama legend about how Owl killed a cannibal ogress.
*Chinook Wind:
    Yakima legends about the changing of the seasons.
*Legend Of The Lost Salmon:
    Yakama legend about learning proper respect for the salmon.
*Tsi - Laan (Deep Water):
    Yakima legend about the price of greed.
*Little People of Oregon and Washington:
    Stories about the legendary little people of the Yakama and other Northwestern tribes.

Recommended Books on Yakama Mythology

Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest:
    Collection of legends and folktales from the Yakama and other northwestern tribes.
American Indian Trickster Tales:
    Compilation of more than a hundred stories about Coyote 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

 Yakama religion and expressive traditions
 Books of Native American legends
 Native beliefs
 Yakima words
 Washington Indian tribes
 Plateau Indians
 Penutian languages
 Yakima culture
 The American Indians

Back to our list of Native gods and spirits
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Learn more about the Yakima tribe.

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