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

This is our collection of links to Carib folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American legends 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 Caribs, the traditional stories of other Caribbean tribes like the Arawak and Taino tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Carib Mythological Figures

Tamosi: This is the name of the great Creator god of the Carib tribe. His name means "the Ancient One" and is pronounced tah-moh-see; sometimes the longer name Tamosi Kabutana or Tamosi Kabo-Tano is used ("Ancient One of the Sky.") Tamosi is not personified in Carib myth and indeed is said never to have been seen by mortal man.

Amalivaca: A benevolent transformer-type demigod who shapes the world for the Caribs and teaches them how to live. In some Carib stories he is known as Sigu or Sigoo and considered to be the son of Tamosi; in others, he has a twin brother named Vochi who helps him in his work.

Macunaima and Pia (also spelled Makunaima, Makonaima, Piai, Piai'ima, and other ways): These are Carib culture heroes, twin sons of the Sun who help humankind by ridding the land of monsters. However, in some Carib traditions, the name Makunaima is instead used as an alternate name for Tamosi. "Macunaima" means "he works by night" and "Pia" means "medicine man."

Kanaima: An evil spirit that possesses people and causes them to turn into deadly animals and/or go into a murderous rage. Assassins, or Carib people seeking revenge for a slain relative, sometimes invited the Kanaima spirit into themselves by taking certain drugs or conducting certain magic rituals.

Carib Indian Folklore

*Legends of the Caribs:
    Collection of Carib legends and folktales.
*Animism and Folklore of the Guiana Indians:
    Online book of Arawak, Witoto, and Carib mythology.
The First People:
    Carib legends about Tamosi Kabo-tano, Amalivaca, and the beginning of civilization.

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Recommended Books on Carib Mythology
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Dark Shamans:
    Story of the violent animistic traditions of Kanaima among the Caribs of the Guiana highlands.
Rain Forest Literatures: Amazonian Texts and Latin American Culture:
    An interesting book comparing traditional Arawak, Carib, and Guarani stories.

Additional Resources

 Carib religion and expressive traditions
 Carib Indians
 Carib words
 Books of Native American lore
 Native American shamanism
 Caribbean Indians
 Cariban language
 Carib history
 Native American tribes information

Back to the Carib language homepage
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