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Mandan Legends and Traditional Stories

This is our collection of links to Mandan folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American myths 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 Mandan tribe, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Hidatsa and Sioux are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Mandan legend for this page, please let us know.

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Important Mandan Mythological Figures

Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Mandan mythology.

Lone Man (Numank Maxana): Mythical first human and culture hero of the Mandan tribe. He worked together with Coyote to shape the earth and teach the people how to live.

First Coyote (Ki-numakshi): Unlike most Siouan tribes, the Mandans did not consider Coyote as a buffoon or trickster character, but as a powerful creator god. So although there are still a few humorous Mandan coyote stories to be told, the majority of them are considered sacred just as the stories about Lone Man are.

Woman-Who-Never-Dies: Spirit of the corn, who taught the Mandans the arts of agriculture.

Mandan Indian Folklore

*First Creator and Lone Man * Creation of the World: * Mandan Myth of Emergence:
    Mandan creation myths.
*The Great Flood * Mandan Flood Myth:
    Mandan legend about the flooding of the earth.
*The Cedar Basket:
    Mandan folktale about how the people lost their magic baskets.
*The Buffalo Dance:
    Mandan legend about the origin of the Buffalo Dance.
*The Bird That Turned The Meat Bitter:
    Mandan legend about Coyote stopping Raven from ruining the buffalo meat.
*Legends and Folklore of the Northern Lights:
    Aurora Borealis stories from the Inuit, Meskwaki, Algonquin and Mandan tribes.

Recommended Books on Mandan Mythology
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Mandan Social and Ceremonial Organization:
    Interesting book on the religious life and traditions of the Mandan people.

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Additional Resources

 American Indian mythology
 Native American belief system
 Mandan Indians
 Mandan language
 North Dakota Native Americans
 Plains American Indians
 Siouan speakers
 Major Native American tribes



Back to the spirit animal list
Read some Native American fiction
Learn more about the Mandan culture.



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