These stories are gathered from different tribes. I do not always have what tribe a story comes from so if any story that doesn't have what tribe it comes from listed with it, please contact me either through the guest book or our email addy. Spiritwalker
The Innu carve strange and beautiful figures, representing people, animals,
birds, fish, and supernatural characters, then paint them with bright colors.
The tallest red cedar trees are selected for totem poles, and are used for
landmarks as well as illustrating the legends told from generation to
On one of these poles was carved a stunning Raven, but he had no beak!
The Raven in Alaska was no ordinary bird. He had remarkable powers and could
change into whatever form he wished. He could change from a bird to a man,
and could not only fly and walk, but could swim underwater as fast as any
One day, Raven took the form of a little, bent-over old man to walk through a
forest. He wore a long white beard and walked slowly. After a while, Raven
felt hungry. As he thought about this, he came to the edge of the forest near
a village on the beach. There, many people were fishing for halibut.
In a flash, Raven thought of a scheme. He dived into the sea and swam to the
spot where the fishermen dangled their hooks. Raven gobbled their bait,
swimming from one hook to another. Each time Raven stole bait, the fishermen
felt a tug on their lines. When the lines were pulled in, there was neither
fish nor bait.
But Raven worked his trick once too often. When Houskana, an expert
fisherman, felt a tug, he jerked his line quickly, hooking something heavy.
Raven's jaw had caught on the hook! While Houskana tugged on his line, Raven
pulled in the opposite direction. Then Raven grabbed hold of some rocks at
the bottom of the sea and called, "O rocks, please help me!" But the rocks
paid no attention.
Because of his great pain, Raven said to his jaw, "Break off, O jaw, for I am
too tired." His jaw obeyed, and it broke off.
Houskana pulled in his line immediately. On his hook was a man's jaw with a
long white beard ! It looked horrible enough to scare anyone. Houskana and
the other fishermen were very frightened, because they thought the jaw might
belong to some evil spirit. They picked up their feet and ran as fast as they
could to the chief's house.
Raven came out of the water and followed the fishermen. Though he was in
great pain for lack of his jaw, no one noticed anything wrong because he
covered the lower part of his face with his blanket.
The chief and the people examined the jaw that was hanging on the halibut
hook. It was handed from one to another, and finally to Raven who said, "Oh,
this is a wonder to behold!" as he threw back his blanket and replaced his
Raven performed his magic so quickly that no one had time to see what was
happening. As soon as Raven's jaw was firmly in place again, he turned
himself into a bird and flew out through the smoke hole of the chief's house.
Only then did the people begin to realize it was the trickster Raven who had
stolen their bait and been hooked on Houskana's fishing line.
On the totem pole, Raven was carved, not as the old man, but as himself
without his beak, a reminder of how the old man lost his jaw.
Chipmunk got His Stripes
Long ago when animals could talk, a bear was walking along. Now it has always
been said that bears think very highly of themselves. Since they are big and
strong, they are certain that they are the most important of the animals.
As this bear went along turning over big logs with his paws to look for food
to eat, he felt very sure of himself. "There is nothing I cannot do," said
"Is that so?" said a small voice. Bear looked down. There was a little
chipmunk looking up at Bear from its hole in the ground.
"Yes," Bear said, "that is true indeed." He reached out one huge paw and
rolled over a big log. "Look at how easily I can do this. I am the strongest
of all the animals. I can do anything. All the other animals fear me."
"Can you stop the sun from rising in the morning?" said the Chipmunk.
Bear thought for a moment. "I have never tried that," he said. "Yes, I am
sure I could stop the sun from rising."
"You are sure?" said Chipmunk.
"I am sure," said Bear. "Tomorrow morning the sun will not rise. I, Bear,
have said so." Bear sat down facing the East to wait.
Behind him the sun set for the night and still he sat there. The chipmunk
went into its hole and curled up in its snug little nest, chuckling about how
foolish Bear was. All through the night Bear sat. Finally the first birds
started their songs and the East glowed with the light which comes before the
"The sun will not rise today," said Bear. He stared hard at the glowing
light. "The sun will not rise today."
However, the sun rose, just as it always had. Bear was very upset, but
Chipmunk was delighted. He laughed and laughed. "Sun is stronger than Bear,"
said the chipmunk, twittering with laughter. Chipmunk was so amused that he
came out of his hole and began running around in circles, singing this song:
"The sun came up,
The sun came up.
Bear is angry,
But the sun came up."
While Bear sat there looking very unhappy, Chipmunk ran around and around,
singing and laughing until he was so weak that he rolled over on his back.
Then, quicker than the leap of a fish from a stream, Bear shot out one big
paw and pinned him to the ground.
"Perhaps I cannot stop the sun from rising," said Bear, "but you will never
see another sunrise."
'Oh, Bear," said the chipmunk. "Oh, oh, oh, you are the strongest, you are
the quickest, you are the best of all of the animals. I was only joking." But
Bear did not move his paw.
"Oh, Bear," Chipmunk said, "you are right to kill me, I deserve to die. Just
please let me say one last prayer to Creator before you eat me."
"Say your prayer quickly," said Bear. "Your time to walk the Sky Road has
"Oh, Bear," said Chipmunk, "I would like to die. But you are pressing down on
me so hard I cannot breathe. I can hardly squeak. I do not have enough breath
to say a prayer. If you would just lift your paw a little, just a little bit,
then I could breathe. And I could say my last prayer to the Maker of all, to
the one who made great, wise, powerful Bear and the foolish, weak, little
"Bear lifted up his paw. He lifted it just a little bit. That little bit,
though, was enough. Chipmunk squirmed free and ran for his hole as quickly as
the blinking of an eye. Bear swung his paw at the little chipmunk as it
darted away. He was not quick enough to catch him, but the very tips of his
long claws scraped along Chipmunk's back leaving three pale scars.
To this day, all chipmunks wear those scars as a reminder to them of what
happens when one animal makes fun to another.
Sun and Moon
Once upon a time, when our people first came up from the villages of the
underworld, there was no sun. There was no moon. They saw only dreary
darkness and felt the coldness. They looked hard for firewood, but in the
darkness they found little.
One day as they stumbled around, they saw a light in the distance. The Chief
sent a messenger to see what caused the light. As the messenger approached
it, he saw a small field containing corn, beans, squash, watermelons, and
other foods. All around the field a great fire was burning. Nearby stood a
straight, handsome man wearing around his neck a turquoise necklace of four
strands. Turquoise pendants hung from his ears.
"Who are you?" the owner of the field asked the messenger.
"My people and I have come from the cave world below," the messenger replied.
"And we suffer from the lack of light and the lack of food."
"My name is Skeleton," said the owner of the field. He showed the stranger
the terrible mask he often wore and then gave him some food. "Now return to
your people and guide them to my field."
When all the people had arrived, Skeleton began to give them food from his
field. They marveled that, although the crops seemed so small, there was
enough food for everyone. He gave them ears of corn for roasting; he gave
them beans, squashes, and watermelons. The people built fires for themselves
and were happy.
Later, Skeleton helped them prepare fields of their own and to make fires
around them. There they planted corn and soon harvested a good crop.
"Now we should move on," the people said. "We want to find the place where we
will live always."
Away from the fires it was still dark. The Great Chiefs, at a council with
Skeleton, decided to make a moon like the one they had enjoyed in the
They took a piece of well-prepared buffalo hide and cut from it a great
circle. They stretched the circle tightly over a wooden hoop and then painted
it carefully with white paint. When it was entirely dry, they mixed some
black paint and painted, all around its edge, completing the picture of the
moon. When all of this was done, they attached a stick to the disk and placed
it on a large square of white cloth. Thus they made a symbol of the moon.
Then the Great Chiefs selected one of the young men and bade him
to stand on top of the moon symbol. They took up the cloth by its corners and
began to swing it back and forth, higher and higher. As they were swinging
it, they sang a magic song. Finally, with a mighty heave, they threw the moon
disk upward. It continued to fly swiftly, upward and eastward.
As the people watched, they suddenly saw light in the eastern sky. The light
became brighter and brighter. Surely something was burning there, they
thought. Then something bright with light rose in the East. That was the
Although the moon made it possible for the people to move around with less
stumbling, its light was so dim that frequently the workers in the fields
would cut up their food plants instead of the weeds. It was so cold that
fires had to be kept burning around the fields all the time.
Again the Great Chiefs held a council with Skeleton, and again they decided
that something better must be done.
This time, instead of taking a piece of buffalo hide, they took a piece of
warm cloth that they themselves had woven while they were still in the
underworld. They fashioned this as they had fashioned the disk of buffalo
hide, except that this time they painted the face of the circle with a copper
They painted eyes and a mouth on the disk and decorated the forehead with
colors that the Great Chiefs decided upon according to their desires. Around
the circle, they then wove a ring of corn husks, arranged in a zig zag
design. Around the circle of corn husks, they threaded a string of red hair
from some animal. To the back of the disk, they fastened a small ring of corn
husks. Through that ring they poked a circle of eagle feathers.
To the top of each eagle feather, the old Chief tied a few little red
feathers taken from the top of the head of a small bird. On the forehead of
the circle, he attached an abalone shell. Then the sun disk was completed.
Again the Great Chiefs chose a young man to stand on top of the disk, which
they had placed on a large sheet. As they had done with the moon disk, they
raised the cloth by holding its corners. Then they swung the sun disk back
and forth, back and forth, again and again. With a mighty thrust, they threw
the man and the disk far into the air. It traveled fast into the eastern sky
All the people watched it carefully. In a short time, they saw light in the
East as if a great fire were burning. Soon the new sun rose and warmed the
earth with its kindly rays.
Now with the moon to light the earth at night and the sun to light and warm
it by day, all the people decided to pick up their provisions and go on. As
they started, the White people took a trail that led them far to the South.
The Hopis took one to the North, and the Pueblos took one midway between the
two. Thus they wandered on to the places where they were to live.
The Raven and the Owl
An Eskimo Fairy Tale
Believe it or not, but in olden times the raven and the owl were both white
One day they met in the tundra, and the raven said:
"Aren't you tried of being so white, Owl? I know I am. Why don't we each
paint the other a different colour?"
"All right," the owl replied. "We can try and see what comes of it, I
The raven was pleased.
"Good! Good!" he cried. "Let us begin."
And he added:
"You paint me first and then I'll paint you."
"Oh, no" said the owl. It was you who suggested it, so it's you that has to
"Very well," the raven agreed.
He scraped some of the burnt-out fat from a lamp, and, using that and a large
feather plucked out from his own tail, set to painting the owl. He took great
care doing it and drew gray spots of every size on each feather, larger ones
on the owl's wings and smaller ones on her breast and back.
"Oh, how beautiful I've made you, owl!" cried he when he had finished. "Just
look at yourself."
The owl looks at herself and could not get her fill of looking. "Yes,
indeed!" she said at last, pleased. "These spots are lovely. And now let me
do the same for you. By the time I get through with you'll be so handsome you
won't know your own self."
The raven turned his head towards the sun, squinted his eyes and froze to the
spot. He was very eager for the owl to make a good job of painting him.
The owl set about it with great zeal. It looks her some time to get done, and
when she had, she looked the raven all over. Then glancing from him to
herself, she found that the raven was now brighter and more beautiful and
more beautiful than she. Angered that this should be so, she came up close to
him, poured what was left of the fat she had been using over him and flew
The raven rubbed his eyes, and, seeing that he was now quite black all over,
"Oh, you sharp-clawed owl, oh, you keen-eyed owl, what have you done! You
have made me blacker than soot, blacker than night!"
That is the end of my tale, and from that day on never has a raven been seen
that was not black.
How the Partridge got His Whistle
From James Mooney's "History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees"
In the old days the Terrapin had a fine whistle, but the Partridge had none. The Terrapin
was constantly going about whistling and showing his whistle to the other animals until
the Partridge became jealous, so one day when they met the Partridge asked to try the
The Terrapin was afraid to risk it at first, suspecting a trick, but the Partridge said, "I'll
give it back right away, and if you are afraid you can stay with me while I practice." So the
Terrapin let him have the whistle and the Partridge walked around blowing on it in fine
fashion. "how does it sound with me?" asked the Partridge. "O, you do very well," said the
Terrapin, walking alongside. " Now, how do you like it?" said the Partridge, running ahead
and whistling a little faster. "That's fine," answered the Terrapin, hurrying to keep up, "but
don't run so fast." "And now, how do you like this?" called the Partridge, and with that he
spread his wings, gave one long whistle, and flew to the top of a tree, leaving the poor
Terrapin to look after him from the ground.
The Terrapin never recovered his whistle, and from that, and the loss of his scalp, which
the Turkey stole from him, he grew ashamed to be seen, and ever since he shuts himself
up in his box when anyone comes near him.
Flint Visits the Rabbit
From James Mooney's "History, Myths, and sacred Formulas of the Cherokees"
In the old days Ta-wi-ska-la lived up in the mountains, and all the animals hated him because
he had helped kill so many of them.They used to get together to talk over means to put him out
of the way, but everybody was afraid to venture near his house until Rabbit, who was the
boldest leader among them, offered to go after Flint and try to kill him. They told him where to
find him, and the Rabbit set out and at last came to Flint's house.
Flint was standing at his door when the Rabbit came up and said sneeringly, "Siyo! Hello! Are
you the fellow called they call Flint?" "Yes, that's what they call me," answered Flint. "Is this
where you live?" "Yes, this is where I live." All the time the Rabbit was looking about the place
trying to study out some plan to take Flint off his guard. He had expected Flint to invite him into
the house, so he waited a little while, but when Flintmade no move, he said, "Well my name is
Rabbit; I've heard a good deal about you, so I came to invite you to come and see me."
Flint wanted to know where the Rabbit's house was, and he told him it was down in the
broomgrass field near the river. So Flint promised to make a visit in a few days. "Why not come
now and have supper with me?" said the Rabbit, and after a little coaxing Flint agreed and the
two started down the mountain together.
When they came near the Rabbit's hole the Rabbit said, "There is my house, but in summer I
generally stay outside here where it is cooler." So he made a fire, and they had supper on the
grass. When it was over, Flint stretched out to rest and the Rabbit got some heavy sticks and
his knife and cut out a mallet and wedge. Flint looked up and asked what that was for. "Oh,"
said the Rabbit, "I like to be doing something, and they might come in handy." So Flint lay down
again, and pretty soon he was sound asleep. The Rabbit spoke to him once or twice to make
sure, but there was no answer. Then he came over to Flint and with one good blow of the mallet
he drove the sharp stake into his body and ran with all his might for his hole; but before he
reached it there was a loud explosion, and pieces of flint flew all about. That is why we find
flint in so many places now. One piece struck the Rabbit from behind and cut him just as he
dived into his hole. He sat listening until everything seemed quiet again. Then he put his head
out to look around, but just at that moment another piece fell and struck him on the lip and
split it, as we still see it.
RED BIRD.........DAUGHTER OF THE SUN.
The Cherokee people is one of the nations, that believe that the SUN,
The Sun lived on the other side of the sky vault, but her daughter live
in the middle of the sky directly above the earth, and every day as the
sun was climbing along the sky arch toward the west she used to stop
at her daughter's house for dinner.......
Now the Sun did not like the people on the earth, because they could
never look straight at her, without screwing up their faces. She said
to her brother , the Moon . " My Grandchildren are ugly: they grin all
over their faces when they look at me." But Moon said, " I like my
younger brothers and sisters: I think they are very handsome" - because
they always smiled pleasantly when they saw him in the sky at night,
for his rays were milder.
The Sun was jealous and planned to kill of the people: so every day
when she got near her daughter's house she sent down such sultry
rays that there was a great fever and the people died by the hundreds.
Until everyone had lost some friend and there was fear that no one
would be left. They went for help to the "Little Men". Who said the
only way to save themselves was to kill the Sun.
The Little Men made medicine and changed to men into Snakes
the Spreading Adder, and the Copperhead. and sent them to
watch near the door of the daughter of the Sun, to bite the old
Sun when she came the next day. They went together and hid
near the house until the Sun came, but when the Spreading Adder
was about to spring the bright light blinded him and he could only
spit out yellow slime. as he does to this day when he tries to bite.
She called him a Nasty thing and went by into the house. The
Copperhead crawled off without trying to do anything.
So the people still died from the heat, they wnt to the Little Men
a second time for help. The Little Men made medicine again and
changed one man to the great Uktena and another into a Rattlesnake
and sent them to watch the house. And kill the old Sun when she
came for dinner.They made the Uktena very large with horns on his
head. And everyone thought he would be sure to do the work, but
the Rattlesnake was so quick and eager that he got ahead and coiled
up just outside the house, and when the Sun's Daughter opened the
door to look out for her mother, he sprang up and bite her. And
she fell dead in the doorway, He forgot to wait for the Old Sun, but
went back to the people, and Uktena was so angry that he went back also.
Since then we pray to the Rattlesnake and never try to kill him, because
he is kind and never tries to bite unless he is disturbed. Uktena grew
angier all the time and more dangerous , so that if he looked at a man,
that man's whole family would die. so the sent him up to Galunlati,
and there he is now.
When the sun found her daughter dead, she went into the house and
grieved, and the people did not die anymore, but now the world was
dark all the time , because the Sun would not come out.They went
again to the Little Men and these told them that if they wanted the
Sun to come out again they must bring back her daughter from
Tsusginai ( the ghost Country, Usunhiyi, the darkening land of the
west) They chose seven men to go and gave each a sourwood rod
a hand-breath long . The little men told them they must take a box
with them, and when they got to Tsusginai, they would find all ghosts
at a dance. They must stand outside the circle. and when the young
woman passed in the dance they must stike her with the rods, and she
would fall down to the ground. Then the must put her in the box and
bring her home to her Mother. But they must never open the box, not
even a little way , until they got her home.
They took the box and rods and traveled seven seven days to the West.
Until they came to the Darkening Land. There were a great many people
there, and they were having a dance just like back home in the settlements
The young woman was in the outside circle. And as she danced by each
man struck her with the rods, and she fell upon the ground. The other
ghost never seemed to notice.
They took the box and started home toward the East. In a little while
the girl came back to life. and begged to be let out of the box.
but they made no answer. Again she asked to be let out, then she
asked for a drink of water , but still the men did not answer.
When at last they were very near home, she called out that she was
smothering, and begged them to open the lid just a little. They were
afraid that she really was dying again, so they lifted the lid just a
little to give her some air. As they did so they heard a fluttering
sound inside the box, and something flew past them, into a
thicket. Then they heard a Redbird cry, "Kwish! Kwish! Kwish!"
in the bushed . They closed the lid again and went on to the settle-
ments. But when they got there the box was empty.
So we know the Redbird (Cardinal) is the Daughter of the Sun.
and if the men had kept the box closed like the Little Men
told them to do, they would have brought her home safely, and
we could bring back our other friends also from the Ghost
country. But now we know when they die we can never bring
The Sun was glad when they started for the to the Ghost
Country, But when they returned without her, She grieved,
"My daughter! My daughter! and wept until her tears caused
a great flood on earth, The people sent their handsomest
men and women to dance and sing for the Sun , to cheer her
up. But she would not stop crying. until at last the drummer
suddenly changed the song. Then the Sun lifted her face,
and was so pleased at the sight that she forgot her grief