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Native Languages of the Americas:
Yurok Indian Legends

This is our collection of links to Yurok 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 Yuroks, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Wiyot and Hupa tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Yurok Mythological Figures

Wohpekumeu (also spelled Wah-pec-wah-mow, Wohpekuman, or several other ways.) Wohpekumeu is the benevolent culture hero of the Yurok tribe (sometimes referred to as a "transformer" by folklorists.) He shares some similarities with other Algonquian heroes such as the Wabanaki Koluscap, Anishinabe Nanabush, and Cree Wesakaychak, and some of the same stories are told in eastern Algonquian tribes with only the identity of the protagonist differing.

Pulekukwerek. Pulekukwerek is a mythical hero who protected the Yurok people by slaying monsters.

Yurok Indian Folklore

*The Foxes and the Sun:
    Yurok legend about how Sun was caught by the foxes.
*How Thunder and Earthquake Made Ocean:
    Yurok tale about the origin of the ocean.
*Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest:
    Online book about Southwest and California Indian mythology.
*Mythology of the California Tribes:
    Early 20th-century collection of Yurok and other California Indian legends.

Recommended Books on Yurok Mythology
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Surviving Through the Days: Translations of Native California Stories and Songs:
    Anthology of myths and traditional literature from the Yurok and other Native California tribes.
The Deetkatoo:
    Great collection of traditional tales about little people from the Yurok and other tribes.
American Indian Trickster Tales:
    Compilation of more than a hundred stories about Coyote and other Native American tricksters.
    (Use discretion sharing these with kids as some of the stories contain adult humor.)

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Additional Resources

 Yurok religion and expressive traditions
 Indian beliefs and religions
 Yurok tribe
 Yurok language
 California Native history
 California culture region map
 Algic people
 List of Native American tribes in the United States



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