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Native Languages of the Americas:
Dene Legends, Myths, and Stories

This is our collection of links to Dene folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American 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 Dene Suline people (also known as "Chipewyan"), the traditional stories of related Athabaskan tribes like the Dene Tha and Carrier tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Dene Mythological Figures

Yedariyé (or Niottsi): This is the name of the great sky god of the Dene tribes. He is a benevolent creator spirit who will occasionally intervene to help people in distress. Yedariyé means "He who lives on high," and Niottsi means "Creator."

Yamoria: Also known as the Old Man, Transformer or Wanderer. In Dene stories, Yamoria frequently uses his cleverness rather than his strength to defeat his enemies, at which point he either kills them or transforms them into something harmless.

Dene Indian Folklore

*Dene Creation Myth:
    Dene legend about the creation of the world.
*The Monster Bird:
    A Dene story about a young man's adventures in the sky world.
    Dene legends about a magical caribou boy.
*Sa-Klu-Nazetti (The Sun Taken in a Snare):
    Chippewyan myth about the origin of the seasons.
Love and Support:
    Story of a Dene man adopted by a bear.
*Bear and Squirrel:
    Dene story about the origin of light and darkness.
*The Boy Who Became Strong:
    Dene Indian story about a hero and his faithful wife.
Elder Speak:
     Collection of oral history narrated by Cree and Dene elders.
*Mythology of the Chipewyans:
    Early 20th-century collection of Dene legends.

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Recommended Books on Dene Mythology
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Chipewyan Tales:
    Collection of Dene legends and folktales.

Additional Resources

 Chipewyan religion and expressive traditions
 Books of American Indian myth
 Indian beliefs
 Dene tribe
 Alberta First Nations
 The Subarctic
 Athabascan Indians
 Dene culture
 Facts about Native American culture

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