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Native Languages of the Americas:
Zuni Legends, Myths, and 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 let us know.

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Important Zuni Mythological Figures

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. Yanauluha is the benevolent culture hero of Zuni mythology (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.

Zuni Indian Folklore

*Zuni Myths and Folk Tales:
    Compendium of online materials about Zuni religion, folktales, and ritual poetry.
*The Zuni Creation Cycle * Zuñi Origin Myths * Zuni Creation Story * Zuni Creation Myth * The Beginning of Newness:
    Zuni myths about the creation of the world and the emergence of human beings.
*The Great Flood:
    Zuni legend about the flooding of the earth.
*Zuni Indian Stories:
    Legend about the origin of death and a Zuni Cinderella story.
*Coyote and Eagle Steal the Sun and Moon:
    Zuni legend about the changing of the seasons.
*Eagle Boy:
    Zuni legend about a boy who traveled to the Land of the Eagles.
*The Origin of Corn:
    How corn came to the Zunis.
*The Serpent Of The Sea:
    Zuni legend about a maiden who married Kolowisi the sea serpent.
*Zuni Legend Of Spider Tower:
    Where the rock formation of Spider Tower got its name.
    Zuni legend of how Morningstar and Eveningstar fought a cannibal demon.
*Four Flutes:
    Zuni legend about the origin of flutes.
    Zuni legends about the adventures of Hoya the hummingbird.
*Swift-Runner and Trickster Tarantula:
    Zuni legend about the origin of tarantulas.
*Origin of Raven and Macaw:
    Zuni legend about the Raven People and the Macaw People.
*The Corn Maidens:
    Zuni legend of Paiyatuma and the Mothers of Corn.
*Who Is The Strongest?:
    Zuni legend about the strongest object of all.
*Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest:
    Online book about Southwest and California Indian mythology.

Recommended Books of Zuni Myths
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Zuni Indian Tales:
    Collection of Zuni legends and traditional stories.
Zuñi Coyote Tales:
    Trickster stories from the Zuni tribe.
The Deetkatoo:
    Great collection of traditional tales about little people from the Zuni and other tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Indian beliefs and religions
 Zuni Indians
 Zuni fetish carvings
 Zuni language
 New Mexico Indian tribes
 Southwest Native American tribes
 Southwest Indian gifts
 Native American map of tribes

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