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

This is our collection of links to Saanich stories and folktales that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American myth 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 Saanich-speaking Straits Salish tribes, the traditional stories of other Salish people like the Skagit and Lummi tribes are very similar.

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

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Saanich Mythological Figures

Xe'las (also spelled Xelas, Haylas, Hals, and other ways): A Transformer figure, often known as the Changer in English, common to the mythology of many Northwest Coast tribes. The Changer brought balance to the world by using his powers to change people, animals, and the landscape into the forms they have today.

Raven: Raven is a culture hero of Saanich, Samish, and Lummi mythology. He is a benevolent figure who helps the people, but at the same time, he is also a trickster spirit, and many Saanich stories about Raven have to do with his frivolous or poorly thought out behavior getting him into trouble.

Mink: Mink is another Straits Salish trickster character. Indeed, some of Raven's more light-hearted adventures are sometimes told with Mink as the protagonist instead. However, compared with Raven, Mink is a more negative character who primarily embodies traits that are looked down upon by the Salish people (greed, recklessness, arrogance, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, etc.) Saanich and Lummi stories about Mink are often humorous, but also are cautionary tales about how not to behave.

Basket Ogress (Ch'eni): A giant cannibal monster who catches human children and carries them off in her enormous pack basket.

Saanich Indian Folklore

*Komo Kulshan and his Two Wives:
    Lumni legend about an unhappy family who turned into mountains.
*The Woman Who Married the Sea:
    A Samish legend, with photographs of a story pole carving.
*Mythology of the Coast Salish:
    Early 20th-century collection of Puget Sound and Straits Salish legends.

Recommended Books on Straits Salish Mythology
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Salish Myths and Legends:
    Anthology of legends and traditional stories from the Saanich and other Salish tribes.
Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest:
    Collection of legends and folktales from the Samish, Lummi, and other northwestern tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Saanich religion and expressive traditions
 American Indian spiritual beliefs
 Saanich language
 Indian tribes in Washington
 Northwestern Indians
 Native American Northwest art
 Coast Salishan languages
 Native American tribes in North America



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