Native Languages of the Americas: Zuni Legends and Traditional Stories
This is our collection of links to Zuni folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.
We have indexed our Native American folklore 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 Zuni tribe, the traditional stories of
related tribes like the Hopi and
Pueblo Indians are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Zuni legend for this page or think one of the ones on here
should be removed, please contact us and let us know.
Awonawilona. This is the Zuni name for the Creator (God.)
Awonawilona is a divine spirit with no human form or attributes, is considered to embody both genders, and is never personified in Zuni folklore.
Poshaiyankya (also spelled Poshaiyanki or Poshaiyank'ya.)
The first man, who first brought the Zunis up to the surface of the earth.
Ahaiyuta and Matsailema (Morning Star and Evening Star, also called the
Ahayuta Brothers.) Twin heroes sent by Awonawilona to help Poshaiyankya and the first humans.
Yanauluha is the benevolent culture hero of the Zuni tribe (sometimes referred to as a "transformer" by folklorists.)
Unlike culture heroes in some tribes, Yanauluha is not a trickster figure but rather a dignified hero who teaches the Zunis the
arts of medicine and agriculture.
Uhepono. The chief of the Zuni underworld, a fearsome
giant with woolly fur and huge round eyes.
Awitelin Tsita. Mother Earth, in Zuni..
Apoyan Tachu (also spelled Ápoyan Tä'chu.) Father Sky, in Zuni..
Kolowisi (also spelled Kolowissi, Kulowisi, Kulowissi, or Kûlowissi):
The horned water serpent of Zuni legend. He is a generally benevolent figure, not a monster.
Atahsaia (also spelled A'tahsaia or Atasaya.)
A kind of terrible man-eating ogre.
Suuke. These are Zuni monsters said to live in caves and carry
off children in their baskets.
Kachinas (also spelled Katsinas, Kachina, Katsina, Katcina, Katchina,
and other ways.) These are supernatural Pueblo nature spirits, particularly important to the Keres, Hopi and Zuni tribes. The Zuni have elaborate kachina
ceremonies where male dancers don sacred costumes and become living embodiments of certain kachinas.
Pautiwa (also spelled Pawtiwa.) This is the most important of the
Pueblo kachina spirits, a sun deity who is the ruler of all the other kachinas.
Kokopelli. This is the best-known of the Pueblo kachina spirits,
a fertility spirit associated with rain dances and corn ceremonies, usually appearing as a well-endowed humpbacked man.
Kokopelli is the Hopi name for him, though
it is commonly used by the Zunis as well. His name in the Zuni language is Ololowishkya or just Ololo.
Shulawitsi, Koko, Sayatasha, Hohomana, Paiyatamu, A'doshle, etc..
These are names of some of the other important Zuni kachinas.