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Sunrise over Mountains

Tookwee'nup (Winter Tales)

The Paiutes had two types of stories that they used to tell during the wintertime. They started telling them during the pine nut harvest in the fall. (Warren Bushhead, Shivwits.) The first type of story might be called a legend. The Paiutes called them Tookwee'nup (Kaibab, Morris Jake). These stories are strictly myth and designed to be humorous and morally instructive, much like the white-man's fairy tales. As one Shivwits informant (Archie Rogers) put it "They are only jokes." Others are considered by the Paiutes to be true even though they are replete with mythical animal characters and supernatural events. An attempt is made in many of these legends to make them look true by creating analogies in the story to similarities in nature, for example, why the feathers of a bird are of a certain color or why a certain geographical feature appears as it does.

Other stories, that are considered true historical accounts, are classified as Nawduh' gwenup. As one informant puts it "They are told by witnesses." This type of story, or history, will be found in this website "War and Historical Accounts." Since Paiutes believed very strongly in the supernatural, they believed historical and war stories that included supernatural events to be true. Sometimes it becomes difficult to distinguish between Tookwee'nup and Nawduh'gwenup. Creation stories might be considered by some to fall into the category of Nawduh'gwenup. I haven't resolved this. (Martineau)

Kaibab informant, Morris Jake makes the following statement about how his band acquired their legends:

"Tookwee'nup belongs to the Shivwits People and other Paiutes to the south. They taught the Kaibab Band these legends recently. These legends are about the land to the south and not Utah and Kaibab land. Nawduh'gwenup belonged to all the Paiutes north and east of the Shivwits. These stories are historic accounts only."


These legends and historical stories were written down the same day they were told to me (Martineau) with the exception of one. When I first started recording this material I seldom wrote down the date they were told. In more recent years I did include the date. I first started recording legends in about 1949 and have continued to do so until the time of this writing in 1990.

Most of the stories told to me were only fragments of once lengthy accounts, nevertheless, I include these fragments because in many cases they are all that remain. They also serve another purpose. They show the extent of the same story, or similar versions, from band to band over an extensive Southern Paiute area.

In the 1950s and 1960s I recorded some on reel to reel tapes and then on cassettes when they became popular. I've tried to keep the wording close to that of the informants, but in some cases I have had to change them for the sake of clarity since some of the informants couldn't speak English very well. Some legends were told to me several times, by the same informant, and in such cases I have lumped the information in such accounts into one story. If the informant contradicted himself I mention this in the story or in the footnotes. Some legends contradict each other but I leave them as told.

Most of this material came to me naturally. I never asked for it until in very recent years (1980-90's). I just recorded whatever I heard. This is one reason some of the legends are only fragments. I now regret that I didn't pursue this material aggressively when the Old People were still living. However, what I was told came from many elderly people born in the last century, or from their children.

I could have made this a popular type work on legends to please children similar to what William R. Palmer did in his legend book "Why The North Star Stands Still." I have completely avoided doing this because in reality he and his publishers have changed some of the legends to the point that they have become inaccurate.

I knew Palmer personally and he admitted some were changed to fit what the publishers wanted in the way of a popular legend book. If he hadn't done this his legends would probably have never been published. He was also noted as a "creative writer" and took the liberty of adapting the legends to his creative type of writing. He was also hard of hearing and recorded the pronunciation of many Paiute words wrong. He definitely omitted all mention of sex that most Indian legends abound in, particularly in the Coyote stories. Coyote was known as Soonung-wuv, Suhnuv, and Yoho'vuhts. Yoho'vuhts means one who always has sex. To the Indian, Coyote's sex escapades were what made Coyote the mischievous person he was. He wasn't entirely evil as a white man would conceive evil to be. He was only human with human desires, and in trying to fulfill them and outdo his elder brother Toovuts, he got himself and sometimes the entire Creation into trouble. Creation today is as it is because Coyote caused it to be this way even though it could have been much better.

Toovuts (Wolf) was the righteous one who wanted peace, love, and people to live forever. He was like unto a wolf, larger, greater, and perhaps more noble than the smaller mischievous Coyote. Wolf thus symbolized the Creator but because of his constant compromising with Coyote the Creator's plans gave way to the selfish imagination of Coyote. This is a very accurate analogy of creation as most races and religions understand it. Mankind (acting out the part of Coyote) disobeyed the Creator and did things their own way thus interfering in Gods plans. A good example from the Christian religion is the story of Adam and Eve who fell from eternal life and a life of ease by disobeying God and seeking to become as God. As a result they brought death and labor into the world. This was exactly what Coyote did. He brought death, suffering, and labor into the world as his plans to outdo his brother backfired. Because the Indians followed Coyote's way they must suffer as he did.

Coyote is not the devil; the Paiutes had none. He is not God or the Creator yet he is as a God and a creator due to his misdeeds; mankind, earth, and nature have become as they are today. Toovuts, the real Creator, who died and returned to life in Paiute Legends, has retreated to his own home to let Coyote and mankind pursue their own imaginations. In many Christian religions God is also thought of as in retreat, leaving men to pursue the imaginations of their own heart. Coyote, as human nature, still exists today in all of us and, as much of mankind sees a part of God within themselves, so has mankind become a Demigod, just as Coyote has become.

Because of Toovuts' withdrawal, and the ways of Coyote predominating, many Paiutes pray to Soonung-wuv, their Father according to the Creation of the Nuwu. He was the initial victor as it was his ways that won. The Old Paiutes admit that since they followed Coyote, they must work and suffer as Coyote did. This is the way it is with much of mankind. They all profess great allegiance to the Creator yet in reality they each follow their own ways.


Palmer, as a staunch Mormon, saw the Father and the Son in Toovuts and Soonung-wuv. As a result of this belief Coyote became a God of Love and Peace to Palmer. He cannot be entirely blamed for this because some Paiutes and other tribes equated Coyote, or their equivalent tricksters, to Jesus. However, the Indians see this trickster as more human and subject to mistakes than the Christians see Jesus. Modern day Crees, Sarcees, and Blackfeet have told me that they equate their trickster with Jesus. Norman Sunchild, a Cree from Thunderchild, Saskatchewan, carries this a little further and states "He is also called the Indian's Santa Claus because of all the useful animals he made for the Indians."

In the midst of the falsehood contained in Indian myths they often contain many grains of truth and perhaps more insight into reality and human nature.


Paiutes had but one real Creator God; Toovuts. However, Coyote was also included as with the Christian God and Jesus. Paiutes believed in ghosts, evil spirits, Tookoov, Kainuhseev, and water babies whom they feared, and would sometimes try to appease. Some medicine men had spirit helpers but these were not gods. In reality the Paiute, and Ute religion was one of the simplest of all Indian religions, with far fewer superstitions than most other tribes. They do not worship the wolf, nor the coyote, in animal form.


This lack of superstition among the Paiutes and Utes seemed to cause wonderment among the Navajos who witnessed them breaking many Navajo taboos without suffering any consequences. To account for this the Navajos created a legend about how an abandoned Navajo baby was raised by an owl. This baby grew up and became the father of the Utes. "That's why the Utes sound like owls when they talk." Since an owl is an evil omen among almost all tribe, the Navajos might also have thought this made the Utes exempt from the consequences of breaking many of the taboos that haunt other tribes. It was the lack of excess superstition and ceremonies that made the Utes strong and feared in warfare.


Many Indian tribes believe in a magical time that existed before mankind and the earth came to be as it is today. In that primeval time of beginning, all the animals, birds, trees, stones, reptiles, sea creatures, sun, moon, stars, and numerous other things were God-like people without the knowledge of death. Stories were created to show how and why each were changed into that creature or object that they are today and how the earth came to be shaped as it now is. As these stories unfolded to the Indian child, he soon became acquainted with the characteristics of all the creatures in his world and with many of the geographical features in the land of his birth that were associated with these legends of creation.


The evidence afforded by these magical stories was constantly before the eyes of the Indian to add strength, belief, and fear regarding the religious morals contained in these mythical stories. The legends were often inventions of men, but the morals they contained were morals known and accepted by all mankind. Many trembled at making the same foolish mistakes that Coyote made in his lust and quest for fame, or that other animals made that caused their fall from Godhood. These legends, therefore, instilled fear and belief in the hearts of the American Indian to the point that many writers have noted their religious enthusiasm. Following is just one of these quotes:

"No people could be more religious than were the Indians before the advent of the white man; they had no observance, rite, or custom, which they did not believe to be God-given" (Curtin 1971, p. vii).


The purpose of Tookwee'nup was to teach children why things are as they are, and to give religious instruction in actions that struck close to home as these children grew and felt these desires arise within their own hearts. Another very important purpose of these legends was also to teach children to laugh at themselves! Any person who cannot laugh, when the laugh is on himself, will have difficulty in appreciating Indian legends, most of which are oriented to such humor. This type of person often sees himself doing that very thing, so such legends offend him.

Indian legends are designed for people who see themselves for what they really are with all their faults including their sexual misdeeds. They are therefore designed for people who can laugh at themselves and if a person can't do this then such legends are not for him. In all Indian languages, words about sex have not been profaned, as in English, therefore they did not sound dirty. They are used in purity without shame. The ability to laugh at yourself is human nature with most Indians. They are taught this as children. When a child falls and cries, the parent's laughter turns the child's tears around. When the child becomes an adult he then has the ability to take calamity in stride.

The value and enjoyment of hearing Indian legends lies in how they are told. They were created by skilled story tellers, not everyone knew this skill, and worded in a manner that brought out Indian humor to its maximum. When such legends are translated into English much of that humor becomes lost because the story teller is not as skilled in bringing out humor using the English language. In some cases Indian words have to be changed, and the white-man's idiom drawn upon, in order to retain the legends inherent value. Today, 

Kaibab informant, Morris Jake had that ability because he was an Indian cattleman and had acquired a cowboy humor from his white associates. He knew how to ad-lib and bring out the color in a legend while using the English language. Read his legend about the Coyote and the Porcupine that was taken from a tape recording. In such examples I keep to his exact wording as much as possible to portray Indian humor more in keeping with the intent of some Indian legends.

In his legend about the Coyote and the Duck, Duck healed Coyote's son, causing Coyote to be indebted to him. The informant ended the story by having Duck tell Coyote "That will be fo' dollars please." He even gave the word "four" a southern accent. I'm sure this wasn't in the original legend, which is the reason I omitted this statement, but yet in telling such legends in English, this is what is needed to bring out the humor created within them.

The legends that Kaibab informant, Morris Jake told me, (that I didn't tape record) lost much of his humor because I wrote them down later that day and couldn't remember his exact wording. I also hadn't yet learned to appreciate the value of his brand of humor and was more concerned with story facts.

The Legends that Tony Tillahash related to Sapir are extremely dry because of the direct translation and Tony's stiffness in relating them to a scholar. Some of the legends I have recorded are also very stiff because I heard them out of context, in brief conversations, where the humor was omitted. Legends often became lengthy because of the humor built into them. Most long legends also contained numerous songs, and take more than one night to tell.

Some of these legends appear to have been based on some true historic happening of long ago such as The Sack of All Tribes, that tells of the tribes coming to this continent. Through continuous telling down through the years, historical stories are easily changed as they acquire mythical and humorous elements and began to drop the historical facts. Modern scholars who have studied similar legends have discovered some basis in fact in several legends. Compare the Greek legend of Troy, and its eventual discovery of Troy.

In the legends that follow, different versions will be noted for the same legend. In some cases, this does not necessarily mean that the band versions were originally different. The differences might be due to one informant not remembering as much as another informant. However, in case they were distinct, I record them as separate versions. The informants would also associate the legend to their location using their landmarks. Take the legend of Coyote opening up the sack/basket, Shivwits say it happened at Soonungu'kaiv in Washington, Utah, While the Moapa band say it happened near the Muddy River.

Writers on Northern and Southern Ute legends often refer to the older brother Wolf, as Soonung'wuv and to Coyote only as Coyote or Yoho'vuhts. In these legends, Wolf is often given the role of trickster that is exclusively assigned to Coyote in the same legends among the Southern Paiutes and most Great Basin Tribes. The Utes that I have questioned refer to Coyote as Soonung'wuv or Suhnuv This is a discrepancy that writers of Ute legends should research in greater depth, not from published legends, but from the elders themselves.


How Tawvoots
Punished Nature

When Cottontail Punished Nature

Morris Jake, Kaibab

The story begins when Cottontail (Tawvoots) began his long journey to punish Sun (Tahvah)  because he was too hot. Sun didn't like Cottontail and got after him and burnt him on the back of the neck. That is why you see a brown spot on the back of his neck today. As Cottontail journeyed to do this, many things happened to him because other wicked and dangerous things of nature such as the trees, rocks, and water heard he was coming. Cottontail didn't like this and wanted to punish them and make them all good.


While he was on his way to punish Sun, he came upon two rabbit brothers who had been having trouble with nature. Cottontail stopped to visit with them. He knew what their trouble was so he told them to go get some wood and make a fire so they all could eat. The brothers complained that they couldn't because every time they did the trees would pop and hit them. He told them to get it anyway and it happened just as they had said, the trees popped and hit them. Cottontail then said that he would straighten the trees out, so he went over there and took out a very powerful stone that he carried with him and threw it at the trees. When the stone hit the trees it exploded and punished them for being wicked. Ever since then the trees have been good.

He then told the brothers to go get some water. They said that every time they did, the water would rush out upon them and try to pull them in and drown them, as it did their parents. Cottontail told them to go anyway and it happened just as they said, the water rushed out upon them and tried to pull them in and drown them. Cottontail went over there and threw his stone in the pool and caused all the water to splash out. The water then became good and the brothers got water from some that ran back in.

Cottontail then told them to get some food. They said that their parents had stored some in a little cave storage house but that every time they tried to get some, the rocks would fall down upon them. The only way they could get any was to poke a long stick into the cave and twist it and pull out what stuck to it. Cottontail then asked them how their parents used to obtain food, and they said: "Father would lay upon his back, towards heaven, and pray and food would be given him from heaven." Cottontail then told them to go and do this, which they did. While they were doing this, Cottontail went over to the cave and burrowed his way under the rocks causing them to fall down. Thus he caused the rocks to be good. Then he told the brothers to get some food. They did and then they ate.

Bear heard that Cottontail was coming and dug two holes in the ground. One was a dead end and the other had two ways out. He challenged Cottontail to race with him into the holes hoping that he would go into the dead end hole and die. During the race Cottontail beat Bear to the hole that had two ways out while Bear went into the one with the dead end. Cottontail then hit him with his stone and killed him.

Cottontail continued on, and while he was doing so, some birds (Tuhmpee' Keyu'soats, The translation of this word means "Rock Laugher" This bird might be a wren.) were sitting on a ledge, laughing and making fun of him, because his blanket was dragging on the ground. These birds were considered wicked because they were making fun of him. Cottontail had another little rock with him that he rubbed between his legs, at the place where cottontails have a peculiar smell. He then tossed the rock up to the laughing birds and said: "Smell it. It's very precious, so don't loose it!" After they smelled it Cottontail told them "Step close to the edge of the cliff and toss the stone over but watch where it lands so you won't lose it." They did this, but as they were leaning over, they leaned too far out and fell off and broke their necks. This is how they were punished.

Further along his way Cottontail encountered Bull Lizard. He always used to kill people by causing them to run down some steps off the side of a hill that resembled his back. A person had to step in each small indentation between the rough places, or the steps would cut him up and he would die. No one ever reached the bottom and so they were always killed. When Cottontail came along, Bull Lizard planned to kill him in this way. Cottontail took the test and hit every step and wasn't killed.

Bull Lizard then had another plan. He hid a giant snake that would roar and swallow people. He led Cottontail to that place. When the snake roared and was about to swallow Cottontail, Bull Lizard stepped aside so he wouldn't be swallowed. However Cottontail took out his stone and hit the snake on the neck and cut his head off. He threw the snake away with his cane, off into Florida, where you may find this kind of snake today. Cottontail said that the snake could no longer come back up into this part of the country where he used to live. During his travels he also threw his powerful stone at the boulders and caused them to cease from their wickedness as they were always chasing after people.

He then arrived at the place where the Sun rose. Cottontail tried to lie in wait for the Sun each morning so he could punish him and make him good. Sun just laughed and made fun of Cottontail as he journeyed a little beyond where Cottontail was lying in wait each day. Cottontail finally figured out that Sun rose a little further south each day so he decided to allow for Sun's movement south as he sought to ambush him. Unfortunately for Cottontail, this was the day Sun backed up and started north, as Sun does at a certain time each year. This fooled Cottontail again but he eventually figured this out and made up for it.

Before he threw his stone at Sun, he asked all the bushes if they burnt all the way to the ground. Yoowaw'unump (Match Brush) said it didn't. Cottontail planned to hide under this bush so that when he hit Sun, and it exploded, he would escape being burnt. He then threw the stone at Sun and it exploded. He ran to the bush but the heat became so great he had to run on. The whole earth began to burn and sometimes when you look at the rocks you can see where it had been burning. The heat caused the gas and oil to burn, volcanoes erupted, and you can see where they flowed out. The coal is the oil that burnt and after it burnt it turned to rock just as the lava did. The trees also burnt and turned into petrified wood. Cottontail also began to burn; his legs caught on fire and burnt off as he was running. Soon Cottontail's head rolled off and as his eyes popped from the heat. Sun then ceased burning the earth. This is how Sun also became good and was no longer wicked.

(This story is incomplete and probably not in the proper order of events as originally given in the old days.)


When Cottontail Punished Nature

Archie Rogers, Shivwits

A long time ago Cottontail (Tawvoots) used to be big. He went walking down the Virgin River and decided to lie down in the shade and take a nap. Then Tavah (Sun) saw him and laughed at him and made Cottontail short. Later Tawvoots woke up and got mad knowing what Tahvah had done. That's why he came up to the north side of Castle Cliff, Utah, someplace. On the way he asked all the brush how they burnt until he found one that only burnt at the top. Tawvoots wanted to blow up Tahvah. That's the time Tahvah said to him "Oovud'unee yoowaw'hawk?" Are you there waiting for me? Tahvah said that every morning as he was rising.

Way later, Tawvoots was right there in that little brush that only burns on top; he was all prepared and waiting. Also the two Mourning Dove Brothers were there. When Tahvah arose and said "Are you there waiting for me?" Tawvoots' hit Tahvah with something. I always think it was a bomb. It blew Tahvah up and the whole world burnt, but Tawvoots was still alive, because he was under that little brush that doesn't burn clear down like the other ones. The Mourning Dove Brothers were safe also. Sun became good after that, and the world again became covered with water.

Way later, the Mourning Dove Brothers and Tawvoots' went down to get wood but couldn't get any. They said "We can't get wood! What's the matter with this wood right here? It gets after us all the time!" Tawvoots then replied and said, "Go get it now!" He was going to do to the wood as he did to Tahvah so he hid a little distance away. Then the two brothers went down to get the wood but as soon as they started picking it up, the wood got after them so they ran back a couple of feet. As soon as they did that Tawvoots hit the wood from his hiding place (with a rock) and killed the whole thing and then the brothers had all kinds of wood.

Way later, down by Littlefield, Arizona, the two brothers were hungry. Tawvoots told them "Yes. Go get it" (pine nuts and all kinds of food) "I'll wait here hiding." The two brothers went and when they sang, the pine nuts and everything would just come down. I can't remember the song that was sung in this story here. However, when the pine nuts would come down they would go back up again and the two brothers could only get a little bit. When the trees did that Tawvoots hit them from his hiding place and blew them all over. The larger pine nuts, Toov, landed in Nevada and Western Utah. The smaller ones, Paduhv, landed in the rest of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. That's how the two different sizes originated. The place where Tawvoots hit that food is at Littlefield, Arizona, and you can still see a big rock there in the river where he kicked it. It's as big as a house and can be seen in the Virgin River on the south side of the freeway bridge. This is not the powerful rock Tawvoots used each time to hit with.

            Also, the two brothers had trouble getting water in a cup. Every time they reached down for it, the water would pull back and they would only get a little bit. It would also come up and try to drown them. Tawvoots also hit the water making it good.

(As told in the words of Archie Rogers, Shivwits)

Setting the Seasons
of the Year

Rotating Cloud

Morris Jake, Kaibab

One time Coyote and all the birds were having a big meeting in a cave. Coyote was the leader and had made a big fire so they could all keep warm. He was using pitch wood which makes a lot of black smoke. Crow, being the furthest back in the cave, absorbed most of the smoke and that's why the Crow is black from head to foot. You can notice in some caves how black they are in the back end.

Coyote and the birds were discussing and voting on what the length of the seasons of the year should be. Coyote wanted winter and summer to be long with a six months summer, and six months winter, making the year twice as long. The birds wanted three months spring, three months summer, three months fall, and three months winter. Coyote rejected this, wanting the winter months longer. The birds all said "No! Who could live that long? That's not right. Lets cut it down to three months for each season." If Coyote gets his way we would have long winters.

The birds and Coyote were all trying to choose which season length would be the easiest and best for them. They kept arguing and arguing and couldn't come to any agreement. Meanwhile, Coyote went after another armful of wood, and all these birds started talking among themselves. "Six months is too long! Lets set it back three months." Therefore they made the decision and set the seasons while Coyote was out gathering wood.

Then they all flew out of that cave. The last bird out was Pawnuhoytch (Poorwill). As he flew out he said "paiuhm'uhoy, paiuhm'uhoy." This sound that this bird makes sounds like the Paiute words for "Three months" that the birds had set for the seasons. Coyote then knew that the birds had voted for three months instead of six. That made Coyote mad and he said "Three months isn't long. It's too short." Then he dropped his armful of wood and picked up a stick and took after that bird. He barely hit the bird as it flew off at the tail end of the flock. As he flew away, Pawnuhoytch would fly a short distance and then land. Whenever he landed Coyote took after him with that stick. He wanted to finish him off. As he approached, Pawnuhoytch took off again, flew a little distance and landed. Then he turned himself into a rattlesnake. That kind of bird has been known to do that.

While Coyote was chasing the bird he noticed that the toowoomp berries (service berries) were getting ripe. Coyote noticed the berries way up on top of the bush; they were big and juicy. There was one that was extra big and delicious looking. Coyote then decided that the shorter seasons were good after all. If it was still winter he would have to wait another three months before the berries ripened. Then Coyote said to the birds "Good! Three months is good enough! I agree to it."

I think that bird that turned himself into a rattlesnake bit Coyote there but maybe he didn't. I think that big berry up on top fell down to the bottom. Coyote reached out for it and it went on down into the ground. Coyote started digging for it. He kept digging and after while he found some bark used for covering food that is cached within the ground. Coyote dug it all out. Somebody must have stored some meat and something down there. That's the time he said, "Three months is good enough." That's the way it is right today, three months for each season.

(Compiled from a tape and an oral account given to me by Morris Jake, Kaibab.)


The Manner of Childbirth

Archie Rogers and Edrick Bushhead, & Morris Jake, Kaibab

One time Soonungwuv and his elder brother Toovuts were discussing how children were to be created. Toovuts wanted a child to grow inside the arm and then when it was big enough to be born all you had to do was to flip your hand and the baby would come out of your hand without any pain.

Soonungwuv wouldn't agree with this and said, "That isn't the place where you have intercourse! A baby should grow within the womb and it should come out from between the legs." Well, as Soonungwuv always got his way and was the one that ruined all the good things, he also got his way this time and that's why children are born the way they are now. That's why women have to suffer so much over it because that's the way Soonungwuv wanted it to be. If Toovuts had of gotten his way, it would have been good and they wouldn't have to suffer.

(As told by Edrick Bushhead, Shivwits and Morris Jake, Kaibab.)

The following additions were given by Archie Rogers, Shivwits: In the beginning a woman's vagina had teeth in it and would chew just like a mouth. Soonungwuv was told to get a deer horn and stick it in the vagina. When he did this all the teeth were broken and now a vagina has no teeth. Toovuts also wanted people to be able to return to life just by flipping the hand but Coyote didn't like this and said that when they die they should stay dead and that's how it is today.


How the Paiutes Acquired Fire

Morris Jake, Kaibab

A long time ago the Paiutes in southern Utah and northern Arizona were trying to bring fire and the larger pine nuts that you find in Nevada and western Utah to their own area. They would send different animals out to steal them but they would always be followed by those Indians over there and they would take away the pine nuts and the sparks as the animals tried to bring them here. They never did succeed in getting the pine nuts here; that's why you see the larger ones there and smaller ones here.

Finally Coyote, Roadrunner, and Jackrabbit tried to bring the sparks by relaying them. The relay was prearranged. Coyote stole the sparks and took off. When he got tired he gave the sparks to Roadrunner who was followed but escaped when he fooled his pursuers by breaking his foot up, and making his tracks look as if they were going both ways. Those following Roadrunner gave up and returned home. They then used their medicine and caused it to rain in hopes of putting out the sparks. When it started to rain Roadrunner and Rabbit got scared so Rabbit took the sparks and put them under his tail to protect them from the rain. It got very hot and burned his tail and that is why Jackrabbit has the black patch on his tail.

When the rain stopped the two then tried to get the sparks to ignite into a fire. They tried everything but failed. Pack Rat was watching and said, "Here, take some of this bark that I use for my bed and see if you can get the sparks to start burning." They succeeded and so that is how the Indians here got the fire but not the larger pine nuts.


How the Paiutes Acquired Fire

Douglas Timmican, Koosharem

One time the Paiutes saw ashes falling from the sky so they sent different birds up to find out where they came from. Hummingbird was the only one to make it up high enough. He could see the fire in the direction of California so the Paiutes went down there and got it.


The Flood

Marie McFee & Archie Rogers, Shivwits

One time, long ago, there was a flood and everyone was killed. In this story Swallow brought some mud to the people and they wondered where he got it. The only survivors were the big wood ants that are found in the mountains. They used to be humans but were turned into ants.

These ant survivors are to be found on Mount Charleston, Nevada, Mount Trumbull, Arizona and Baker Mountain, Nevada. (I don't remember all this story. Archie Rogers, Shivwits.)

Marie McFee said, "You aren't supposed to kill the large wood ants that

live in the mountains, nor kill sea life because they can save you if there ever is a flood."

Certain ants have power to draw poison (witchcraft) or sickness out of you, The ant will go to the part on your body where you hurt and pinch you, they are taking out the sickness when they do this and you will be healed afterwards. You are not to kill them but brush them off gently if they sting you, the ants are drawn to you and know you are hurting.


The Flood

Florence Kanosh, Koosharem

The big black wood ants found high up in the mountains were the only survivors at the time the water covered the earth. They ascended the highest mountain by the name of (?) and thus they were preserved at the time of this flood.


The Morning Dove Brothers

Lyman Smokey & Smith Bushhead, Shivwits

The Morning Dove Brothers had lost their mother who had been taken captive by Iron Clothes (Armadillo) to the Chemehuevi land to the south. There he married her. The two brothers asked Coyote to help them gather an army to take to the south to win her

release. They started out at sunrise and passed through the cut in the black hill just west of the present town of St.George. On the other side of the hill they came to a rock with water sitting in it. From St. George they went up Utah Hill and then down near Turtle Neck Hill to where there is cactus in the desert. (The name of this hill, Aiyu'Kodu Kaiv Turtle Neck Hill is a Paiute name. This hill is in the shape of a turtle and lies along the foothills just north of where Interstate 15 enters the Virgin Narrows. It can best be seen coming down old highway 91 towards Beaver Dam, Arizona. Look directly east at the Utah/Arizona border and you will see the head of this turtle looking south with the remainder of the body north of the border)

Coyote was leading the Dove Brothers so they sat down there in the sand to rest.

Sidewinder came up to them and asked "Let me go with you" Coyote answered and said,

"What could you do? You got no arms, no legs. How did you fight before?" Sidewinder replied and said, "This is what I'm going to do." Sidewinder then demonstrates biting as he does, and bites a rock and causes it to crack. Coyote then said, "Yes, you can go along." Coyote then put him in his quiver and carried him along.

On their way down through the desert they all become very thirsty and hungry. The Morning Dove Brothers could fly so they said, "Lets go after water." They took off and flew by a secret way to their mother. When they landed beside their mother they told her, "Were coming after you to take you home. We have a lot of soldiers out there and they are all hungry and thirsty. We came after food and water." Their mother agreed to help them and secretly gave them water, seeds and meat. She put the water in a cup made out of ee'see bush (skunkbush sumac). The two brothers then took off carrying the food and water back to the weakened army.

When they returned they gave all the army a drink from that small cup. Coyote drank first figuring he would drink it all up. He drank until he was full but there was still water in the cup. No matter how much he drank the cup remained full. He couldn't drink it all so he passed it to the others and each soldier in the army drank. When everyone had quenched their thirst they recovered from their weakened condition and there was still some water left in the cup. Coyote then dumped the water out and a spring came out of the ground right there and went running straight down. That spring is still down there someplace, and is called Suhuh' vawts Sumacbush Water.

After awhile Coyote's army came to the guard standing out in the desert guarding a place that looked like a castle where the mother of the Morning Dove Brothers was being held. Coyote stopped right there and said, "How are we going to get her?" Coyote's soldiers were in the open, with no place to hide. Coyote was in front of them holding and waving a sagebrush in front of his face to hide himself while the rest of his naked body was left exposed. (In Reuben John's Kaibab version this guard is Antelope. The antelope makes a good guard because of his ability to see a hunter approaching from a long way off. Few people are able to get very close when hunting them.)

Coyote had hung his quiver, with sidewinder in it, in a nearby tree. Coyote wanted to be the main one to get all the glory so he left Sidewinder hanging in the tree, hoping to leave him out of the upcoming battle. Sidewinder peeked out from the hanging quiver and saw the guard standing way out there. He kicked the quiver some way causing it to fall and he got out. He started towards the guard, flipping along in the manner he is accustomed to travel. Sidewinder soon arrived right beneath the guard. She was a big person, standing there guarding, compared to the size of the little sidewinder. (The sidewinder is noted for its ability to travel beneath the sand. This is the manner he approached the guard in the Kaibab version. He probably did the same in the Shivwits version. Archie Rogers said he couldn't remember the story very well.)

Sidewinder then said to himself "Where am I going to bite? Down by her vagina where she breaths? If I bite the rest of her body it wouldn't do anything, nothing up there. Her heart beats down here where she breaths fast." He then looked real good between the spread legs and bit the guard inside her vagina. (Tony Tillahash's version given to Edward Sapir says that the "Rattlesnake" bit the Antelope between the spread hoofs. Tillahash did relate many accounts relating to sexual topics and it is doubtful that he would have omitted it here. Striking a sexual organ would be the norm in Paiute legend structure. Sapir might have misheard him, or the versions differ. Sapir did err in identifying the snake as a rattlesnake. Tony used the word "tawnukeets" which among both Kaibab and Shivwits means sidewinder.)

 When she was bitten she jumped sky high and stirred up a big cloud of dust. She then ran off towards home and died just before she entered into her house.

Coyote was about 400 yards or more away when that big cloud of dust arose. Coyote said, "I wonder what happened to cause all that dust to rise up? I'll bet that Sidewinder did that." Coyote then went to where he had left the snake hanging and found the quiver lying there on the ground. Then he went over to where the dust came from and there on the ground, in the midst of the dust, was Sidewinder sitting there with dust all over his face. Sidewinder then said to Coyote, "That's the way I do it!" That's how the war started.


Iron Clothes had two flirtatious women (Wau sawmeng is the word used here, meaning two sillys. The term silly, or sawmeekunt can refer to flirtatious, and sometimes nasty women. I imagine part of the story is missing here involving Coyote and these two women. These women were probably the daughters of Iron Clothes referred to by Tillahash and Reuben John.) there with him along with the mother of the Dove Brothers. Sidewinder was put in their kweechup hole (toilet) and was just sitting there waiting for Iron Clothes to come along. Early in the morning Iron Clothes came to the toilet. "Sidewinder, are you sitting in there?" he said, talking to himself and fearing Sidewinder might just do such a thing. "Are you going to do something to me and make trouble for me?" Iron Cloths said. Then he sat down low and Sidewinder bit him causing him to die. The Morning Dove Brothers then came and retrieved their mother and returned home.

(The foregoing story was translated by LaVan Martineau from a tape recording he made with Lyman Smokey, Shivwits.)

Smith Bushhead, remembers a little of the story and says that at the beginning of the story, someplace, the two Morning Dove Brothers went out hunting and killed a rabbit with an arrow. Then they threw the rabbit up in the air and shot more arrows into it while it was still in the air. When they returned home and threw the rabbit down at their mother's feet it became as many rabbits as the amount of arrows they had shot into it while in the air.


The Morning Dove Brothers (Oyov'ee Navuv'etseeng)

Ruben John, Kaibab

It was a long time ago when someone of the tribe yelled out "Lets all go hunting and bring in meat for our families." Everyone then went hunting except Soonungwuv, the Coyote. He was very lazy and crafty so instead of going out hunting food for his family, he went out and found a large bush with berries on it. He ate berries and lay around in the sun all day long. When evening came he went home and walked among the wickiups and asked each one how many rabbits they had killed, while he himself had killed none and his family went hungry.

Now this happened every day until the berries on the bush were all eaten except for some on the very top of the bush. Coyote wondered how he was going to get these berries down when he decided to dig around the base of the bush so the bush would fall over. He found a stick and made himself a digging tool. Then he dug and dug until he was almost exhausted, when he suddenly struck a bundle. He opened it and found it full of dried meat which he immediately began to eat. Now each day he did this as he lay around in the shade.

Now this meat belonged to the family of Punu' Tuhmpee Nando, Iron Clothes, (This Paiute word means Iron Rock Clothes referring to the ore from which metal is taken. The word punukawd can mean both metal and iron. It is used in reference to the shell of the armadillo that protects it.) who was chief of another tribe. Iron Clothes was a man of medicine. He had a vision in which he saw Coyote stealing his meat. He then sent his two daughters out to spy on Coyote, which they did, and they found Coyote doing just that. Now this made Iron Clothes very angry so he sent all the warriors of his tribe against Coyote's tribe. They planned a surprise attack upon Coyote's camp hoping to kill all the men.

Now in Coyote's camp there lived an old lady and her grandson. This old lady had a vision and saw Iron Clothes and this army coming upon them. She took her grandson and went down along side the river and hid among the rocks. Iron Clothes and his army came and killed all the tribe except Coyote, who escaped. They found the old lady and her grandson among the rocks but the old lady disguised her grandson to look like a girl and so they were not harmed.

Now this boy grew up to be a young man, and one day when he was down by the river, Crane came along unseen. Now this boy felt that he was being watched but every time he turned around he saw no one. Pretty soon he bent over and looked from between his legs and saw Crane. He began to throw sticks at him. (The informant omitted a portion of the story here that can be found in the Shivwits version.)

The story was continued where Sidewinder asked to be carried along. A song is sung. These are the words: "Noneku nonee, noneku nonee" Carry me, carry me. Sidewinder was carried in a quiver. Antelope was standing guard at Iron Cloth's camp and Sidewinder burrowed under the ground, came up beneath him and bit him.

(Morris Jake gives a note in relation to this legend. He says that the poison of the sidewinder is more deadly than that of the rattlesnake. This is the reason that Sidewinder volunteered to do the killing.)

This story was related to me one cold winter night in about 1949 in the potato cellars near Enterprise, Utah where we were working. It was told by Reuben John of Kaibab, who said there was much more to this story. (Martineau)


Hummingbird Creates a Spring With His Cane

Carl Jake, Indian Peak

One time Moo 'toonchuts the Hummingbird stuck his cane into the ground at Wah Wah Springs in western Utah. When he pulled his cane out, water also came out. That's how Wah Wah Springs came to be. 


When Snow Used to be Flour

Morris Jake, Kaibab

A long time ago snow used to be toohoon' tooweev heavenly flour. It would lie in the mountains for every one to use. Soonungwuv (Coyote) was talking to his older brother Toovuts and didn't like this idea. At that time the only ones who could go up and get the flour were a newly married couple. Soonungwuv said he didn't want it that way and that the flour should be snow and melt every spring. Soonungwuv was always given his wish by his older brother Toovuts so that's the way it is today.


Two Paiutes Swallowed by a Fish

Carl Jake, Indian Peak & Douglas Timmican, Koosharem

One time two Indian men were out chasing antelope near Sevier Lake, Utah. When they came to the lake they saw a whirlpool in it. One man swam out to check it out while the other stayed on shore. While the Indian in the lake was swimming out to see the whirlpool a big fish swallowed him. He was swallowed whole without being chewed up.

The man on shore saw this happen so he sharpened his knife and swam out to rescue his friend. He was also swallowed by the fish in the same manner. After the fish swallowed him he ended up lying right along side his friend inside the fish's belly. He then felt around for a soft spot in the belly, and when he found it, he cut the belly open and they got out. As they got out the fish didn't move, but afterward as it was dying, it wiggled violently and splashed water all over and these two guys almost didn't get away. The bones of this fish could be seen in this lake for a long time.

(Martineau initially heard this story from Carl Jake of Indian Peak. Later, Douglas Timmican, Koosharem told the same story, however placing the event at Utah Lake. He heard this story from Dora, the wife of Walker Ammon, the son of the renowned Chief Walker.)



Wilbur Bushhead & Archie Rogers, Shivwits

A long time ago the Paiutes were having a war with some different kind of Indians from back East. Soonungwuv killed this one man and took the dead man's heart out as a souvenir and put it in a tree. It fell out of the tree and Toovuts (Wolf)went over to grab it but it kept moving up north. He couldn't catch it so he said to it "Go after the armies" and it went. That's when they had a war, after that.

Every morning, while Toovuts was lying down, he told Soonungwuv to go make a lot of arrows out of mountain willows. He sang a song then (I can't remember it). Then Soonungwuv said, "Look! Big clouds and lightning are coming from the east, like rain." Toovuts already knew what was coming; it was the armies. Toovuts and Soonungwuv then started shooting arrows at the armies. When the arrows of Soonungwuv hit, they only killed a few, because his arrows were not as good as his brothers. However, when Toovuts' arrows hit, they killed many enemies.

That's the time when Toovuts got killed, because Soonungwuv said, "Whechu" signifying the lower leg bone. He wasn't supposed to say that but he did and Toovuts was shot there and killed. Then the enemy hollered and came and took everything away. After Toovuts had died,  Soonungwuv would lie in his cave and cry and cry. Soonungwuv then started looking all over this country for his brother but couldn't find him. The armies had taken Toovuts' body and clothes with them eastward, lifting them up on a pole each day and dancing around them. (Later in the story, the informant mentions that Soonungwuv looked and found a piece of flesh belonging to Toovuts. This might indicate that the enemy only took his clothes away, in keeping with Edward Sapir's, Woodrow Pete's, and Morris Jake's versions.)

Way later, Soonungwuv found the enemy and planned to get Toovuts' body back while they were dancing. Soonungwuv went in there and grabbed Toovuts' body and ran and the Indians chased him. Way later over a little hill, he turned into a sage brush. The pursuers looked for him and one said, "Maybe this sage brush is him." It was Soonungwuv, so he jumped up and ran away again turning into all kinds of things, including Soonungwuv scratches, and tracks. Every time someone said, "Maybe this is him" he would jump up, run again and get way, ahead of them.

Finally, they lost him for good and Soonungwuv took his brother back home to where he was killed. Soonungwuv then looked around the spot where Toovuts was shot and found a little piece of flesh. He put it someplace and Toovuts returned to life and then went back East to the ocean. From there he went up to Heaven where he still lives with his good-looking wife.

Soonungwuv followed them and stayed with them for a while. While he was there, he

would put pine on the fire to make sparks fly so he could watch his brother make love.

Toovuts then sent Soonungwuv back home. When Soonungwuv arrived he told everybody that when people die they will go up to heaven to their brother Toovuts. It's a good place up there. That's where everyone is, grandfathers, grandmothers, brothers, and sisters. Green things grow there also, just like on earth.

(This is a very long story; Martineau don't remember it all, and left a lot out. Compiled from a tape made June 27, 1984, and an interview made May 19, 1986 with Archie Rogers, Shivwits.)


Following are some additions given by Wilbur Bushhead: Toovuts told Coyote to go cut tuhuv' (serviceberry) so Toovuts could make more arrows (a song is sung in the story here). The enemies of Toovuts were a great nation and thought that Toovuts was evil, which he wasn't. It was only Soonungwuv who was evil. As Toovuts shot one arrow in the battle that followed, hundreds would die. At the end of the story Soonungwuv was punished for his disobedience by being confined to the desert and mountains and having to howl up at the moon at nights. That is why he is still doing this.

(The Southern Utes of Colorado tell the same legend with some variations. They combine this legend and The Sack of All Tribes into one story (Givon, 1985).

In this publication Coyote is called Yohovuhts and Wolf is called Soonungwuv. I questioned Annabelle Eagle from Ignacio about this discrepancy between Paiute and Ute wherein among the Paiute Coyote is called Soonungwuv and not Wolf. She said that Coyote a Soonungwuv and that Givon's informant, Julius Cloud, was very old when he told the story and therefore became confused. Annabelle was not acquainted with the word Toovuts.


How Toovuts Came Back Alive

Woodrow Pete, Cedar City & Douglas Timmican, Koosharem

One time, Toovuts and Soonungwuv were having a war with some other people. Soonungwuv was fighting them for a while and then he returned to the cave where they were living. Toovuts then told Soonungwuv "I'll go out and fight them but don't peek out and watch me." He then went out and fought. After awhile Soonungwuv couldn't bear not looking out to see his brother fight, so he peeked. When he did, Toovuts was killed.

Soonungwuv then began to look through his belongings in the cave to see if he could find something that would bring his brother back to life again. He found a little bag and opened it. When he did, it became dark and Soonungwuv couldn't see a thing. He tried to bring back the light by shooting arrows into the sky. He tried many types of feathers on his arrows. When he used the feathers of the flicker his arrow finally penetrated the red zone of light. That is why the tip of the flicker feather is black, and the rest of it red. Finally he used a Magpie feather, which was the right kind of feather, and it reached the white light and let it down through the darkness to brighten up the land again. That's why you see white in the feathers of the Magpie.

Soonungwuv then followed the tracks of his enemies who had killed his brother Toovuts. When he caught up to them he changed himself to appear as a woman. The enemies were dancing around the clothes of Toovuts which were hanging upon a cross. Coyote went and danced with them until around midnight. He then floated up and grabbed Toovuts' clothes and ran away with them. His enemies followed him, trying to catch him. They almost did as Soonungwuv was going over a small hill but he changed himself into an old dead stick and they didn't see him. They looked around awhile and as they looked again, where Soonungwuv was hiding, someone kicked the stick; Soonungwuv jumped up and ran again.

The very same thing happened several times. The second time, Soonungwuv turned into coyote dung and the third time into a bush. Finally the enemies gave up and Soonungwuv got away. He then went back to the body of his older brother. His body was lying on an ant bed where his enemies had left him. Soonungwuv put the clothes on his brother and then took him eastward some distance and left him there. In the morning Soonungwuv heard a scream like that of a mountain lion as Toovuts came back alive. When Toovuts returned to life he didn't say anything; he just walked away.

(Told by Woodrow Pete)

Douglas Timmican adds the following elements to this story: "A long time ago when Coyote and Toovuts were having a war, Coyote hid himself behind Angels Landing in Zion National Park. The war covered all the land and caused many of the geographical changes and disruptions at Zion and other places that we see upon the earth today. Giant Eagle caused this by flapping his wings. That's what one old man from Cedar City told me."


How Toovuts Came Back Alive

Minnie Jake, Eagle Valley

I asked Minnie Jake about the William R. Palmer's version "The Three Days of Darkness," (Palmer 1987) and about Alva Matheson's version: "Shinob Killed by Anupitts" (see "Reflections" by Alva Matheson in the public library at Cedar City, Utah, unpublished). Minnie said, "Some of it is wrong! It was Toovuts that was killed and not Soonungwuv." He was shot. The story of shooting the arrows up into the darkness was the same story of Toovuts getting killed when he and his younger brother, Soonungwuv, were at war with their enemies. The feathers of many birds were used in attempts to breach the darkness." I asked Minnie specifically about these points. (Martineau)

(Palmer and Matheson erroneously pronounce the word Soonungwuv and Suhnuv as "Shinob.")



How Toovuts Came Back Alive

Morris Jake, Kaibab

A long time ago Toovuts and his younger brother Soonungwuv were at war with their enemies. Toovuts told Coyote "Prepare! Enemies are coming!" He said this because he had seen lightning coming closer in the distance.

When the fighting started Toovuts would lie around just to see how good a fighter Coyote was. Coyote had a gray uniform made out of serviceberry bark and Toovuts also had one but his was green and prettier. Coyote was jealous of this and wished Toovuts would be killed in the fight. While Toovuts was fighting, he would kill many of his enemies with just one arrow, but he was soon killed when shot in the heel. When Coyote's brother was killed he cried until his eyes became swollen and he had to hold them open to see where he was going.

After Toovuts was killed, the enemies held a dance each night on their return home because they had killed a great chief. One of their old women who lagged behind was caught by Coyote, and after questioning her he shook all her bones and meat out of her skin and put it over his own body. As they were dancing, he entered the circle, disguised as this woman, and acted out her part as it was her custom to do. After this he went to the camp where the children were, that this lady was supposed to tend, and he choked them. The enemies said that she had never done that before, and meanwhile, Coyote took his brother's clothes and ran.


The Sack of all Tribes

Edrick Bushhead, Shivwits

One time, Coyote was supposed to take this sack to the middle of America someplace and not open it until he arrived there. He was told to do this by Kakaw'uhvoom Grandmother of Many. From way up north he came down along the coast then back up by way of a big river, probably the Colorado. On the way up, Coyote heard singing and drums inside the sack he was carrying. He wasn't told what was inside so when his curiosity got the best of him, he decided to open it just a little bit and peek in. When he did so, all the different Indian tribes came out, all the tribes that are now all over this land. They all came out so fast that he couldn't stop them. All that was left in the sack were a small amount of people in some human dung. This was the Paiutes. It was there, someplace south of the Shivwits country, where he opened the sack, where the Indians spread all over this country.


The Sack of all Tribes

Archie Rogers, Shivwits

I think this story began at the hot springs near Hurricane, Utah when there were no people in this land, but Toovuts (God) and his wife. They went down the Virgin River in a boat or something. This river used to have a great deal of water in it. Someone told them where to go when they arrived at the ocean and Toovuts pushed his hand forward and parted the ocean with his staff and they crossed over.

Way later, after they had many children, Toovuts told his younger brother Soonungwuv, the Coyote, to bring his children back to this land in a sack because there were no people here. He was also told not to open the sack until he was in the middle of this land. Toovuts parted the ocean again with his staff, where he had passed through before, so that Soonungwuv could pass through with his sack full of Indians. Soonungwuv then arrived in America on the East Coast and from there he went to the West Coast, then up towards Las Vegas, Nevada.

On the other side of Las Vegas he went up on a little hill and stopped there. He heard singing and all kinds of things going on in the sack, and wanted to look in it. He said, "I'm going to look in the sack." Toovuts had told him not to, but Soonungwuv never listens to anyone so he looked in anyway. As he opened the sack to peek in, many people jumped out. Soonungwuv then grabbed the top of the sack and closed it while there were still a few people left inside. He then brought them up this way and dumped the sack. That's where the Paiutes came from. As he dumped it he told some of the people, "You will be way up north and talk different," and to others, "You will go to a different place and talk different." That's how the tribes here originated.

During their journey up here they stopped at a cave at the base of the west side of Sunrise Mountain, just east of Las Vegas, Nevada. The Indians say that this cave has some long tracks in it. I heard this cave has now been destroyed by white-man's construction.

(Archie was told by Dan Bullets of Kaibab, and a Meyers man From Moapa, Nevada, that they went to this cave and it was all ruined.)

Archie Rogers says "that this cave is where the Indians used to go when they wanted to

learn the songs. They would go there and pray. You weren't supposed to be afraid when

that man (spirit) came around to you during the night."


The Indians who got out of the sack below Las Vegas have the Bird Songs that tell of that part of the migration. The Moapa songs tell of crossing the ocean and coming up this way. Jim Chili used to explain parts of the Bird Song migration story when he sang

them. (Jim Chili was a Chemehuevi from the Banning, California, area.)

Roadrunner was taken down south from Las Vegas, down towards Parker, Arizona and that's where those Bird Songs started. A man came up from there, or California someplace, singing and bringing the bird songs up this way where it landed in that cave on Sunrise Mountain. That's where the Bird Songs are and that's what it means: coming out and walking up this way. It also tells of crossing the ocean. A man from Moapa used to sing them and stop a few minutes and tell what each song meant. The Goshutes and the Utes tell a similar story.

(Compiled from Martineau notes made May 19, 1986, June 27, 1989 and an earlier unrecorded date with Archie Rogers, Shivwits.)


The Sack of all Tribes

Morris Jake, Kaibab, Smith Bushhead, Melvin John, Shivwits & Ralph Pikyavit, Kanosh

In the beginning, the Indians lived in another land and there was no one living here. Kakaw'huhvoom Grandmother of Many, (Morris Jake interprets this word in more modern terms than just Grandmother of Many. He liked to use the term "Mother Nature.")

 told Soonungwuv to take a sack full of Indians across the water to this land and let them out in the center. The route was from island to island, which were stepping stones, and at one place she laid a feather across the water so he could come across. When Coyote arrived on this land he let the Indians out too soon. The Hopis remained towards the south while the other tribes scattered throughout the country.

(As told by Morris Jake, Kaibab.)


Annikie, an aged Paiute from the Richfield, Utah, area, told Ralph Pikyavit, Kanosh, that "Wolf was told to take the sack across the sea but he told the Coyote to do it for him. They crossed the water on dry land and Coyote opened the sack in Mexico."


Melvin John, Shivwits states that he heard that a feather was laid across the sea for Coyote to cross over on.


Smith Bushhead, a younger brother to Edrick Bushhead, said he didn't remember where Coyote came from with the sack of Indians, but as he was coming down from the north he peeked in the sack and the richest tribes came out first. He thought this might have been in the Dakotas. Coyote kept peeking in as he went along and the other tribes also came out. The Paiutes came out last, down here in the south.


The Sack of all Tribes

Carl Jake, Indian Peak

Coyote (Soonungwuv) brought the Utes, Paiutes, Shoshone, and Mookweetch up into this country from the south. He was carrying them in a sack. They got out of the sack at Pahranagat, Nevada. The Utes went northeast, The Shoshone north, the Paiutes stayed in this country, and the Mookweetch went back south.

How Coyote Populated the Land


Georgey George, Kaibab

A long time ago, Coyote's brother Toovuts, would always tell Coyote what to do. Coyote, he'd always twist that around and make it the hard way for the people. One day Toovuts told Coyote to go over there someplace to a group of Indians. Toovuts said, "Those Indians are your children." Coyote replied, "How come they're my children?" His brother said, "Because you went with a woman and made all of them. Now you have a family over there that belongs to you and that woman."

Toovuts then told Coyote to go over there and see his children and talk to them and do many things for them. Instead of that, Coyote went over there and saw some pretty girls. That night he asked a girl to sleep with him. The girl said, "No! You're my dad! I don't want to sleep with you, you're my dad!" Coyote then went to the other girls, wanting to marry them, but they always told him, "You're my dad so we don't want to marry you!"

Coyote then returned to his brother and his brother said, "How did you come out, feeding your children and all that? Go hunt! Go hunt someplace! Hunt deer, anything, so they can eat; feed your children!" They claim that's the way this land was populated. That was many years ago, I guess. My dad used to tell me about it.

(Compiled from a tape made August 22, 1978 with Georgey George, Kaibab by LaVan Martineau)


Coyote and the Sage Hen (Soonungwuv & Sechu')

Edrick Bushhead, Shivwits

One morning, Soonungwuv, the Coyote, put on a brand new suit of buckskin clothes that he had just made, and went walking through the country to show them off. He purposely went alongside a lake so he could look into the calm blue water and admire himself in his new clothes. He really thought he was handsome with his new moccasins and beautifully fringed buckskin shirt and leggings.

While Soonungwuv was walking along the lake admiring himself, Sechu', the Sage Hen, saw him and thought he would play a prank on Coyote. Sechu' hid in some tall bushes next to the trail that Coyote was coming down so that he would pass between him and the water. When Soonungwuv arrived at the hiding place of Sechu', he was still admiring himself by watching his image in the water and paying attention to nothing else. As he was doing this Sechu' jumped out from his hiding place and as he did so he yelled "Sechu!" This really caught Soonungwuv by surprise and he was so frightened that he jumped into the lake and ruined his new suit of buckskin clothes.

Coyote came out of the water feeling the spirit of revenge. In order to get even with Sage hen, he circled around the lake and tried to play the same prank, but it didn't work to Soonungwuv's dismay. When his prank didn't work, he yelled to Sechu' and said, "Hey! I didn't do that to you!"


Coyote and the Bear

Edrick Bushhead, Shivwits

One day Soonung'wuv had made himself a brand new rawhide rope and he really thought a great deal of it. He decided that he would go walking so he could show it off.

While he was out walking along the top of a ridge, whistling along, Bear saw him and thought he would play a trick on Coyote. To do this, Bear lay down in the middle of the trail and changed his body so it would look as if it had been dead for some time.

When Soonungwuv came up to the Bear he saw him and said, "Oh! here is my friend the Bear, and it looks like he has been dead for some time. I'll take him home to his family." So Soonungwuv wrapped his new rawhide rope around the Bear and threw him on his shoulders so he could pack him home. While Soonungwuv was traveling down the trail, Bear thought that he would scare Coyote so he made his body come to life again. When Soonungwuv saw that Bear was alive, he became so frightened that he dropped Bear and ran as fast as he could leaving his brand new rawhide rope behind.

Now this made Soonungwuv mad to think that Bear had done this and got away with his brand new rope so he thought he would do the same thing to Bear and get his rope back. He did the same thing that the Bear had done to him and lay down in the trail making his body look as if it had been dead for some time. When Bear came along he saw Soonungwuv and said, "Oh! Here is my friend the Coyote. It looks like he's been dead for some time. I think I'll take him home to his family." He then put the rawhide rope around Coyote and placed him on his shoulders to take him home. Now all the time Bear knew that Coyote was trying to trick him so when Soonungwuv came to life Bear wasn't frightened at all. This really made Soonungwuv mad and he said to Bear "Hey! I didn't do that to you!"


Coyote and the Bobcat

Morris Jake, Kaibab

I can't remember who did the fooling first. It could have been Bobcat. Anyway, Bobcat sees Coyote coming up a wash one time so Bobcat lay down in the middle of the wash and made himself look as if he was dead. He looked as if he had died two or three days ago. When Coyote saw Bobcat lying there he was happy and said, "Now I've got some fur. I'll get some use out of that fur. I better bundle him up and take him home." He then threw Bobcat over his shoulders and started walking along. As he was going along, Bobcat let out a little puff of wind that sounded like a low whistle. Coyote said, "I wonder who said that? Someone is sneaking around." He didn't think it was the Bobcat he was carrying because he was dead and all bundled up. He thought it must have been something else, maybe just some sound some place.

He then went on and a little while later Bobcat made that sound again. This time Coyote could feel the air from Bobcats whistling hitting his ear. When Coyote looked back Bobcat had his big yellow eyes wide open. Coyote got so frightened that he had to sit down. He just lowered himself to the ground very slow. Meanwhile, Bobcat made a big leap and took off.

Then Coyote tried to play the same trick on Bobcat. Coyote got ahead of Bobcat and lay down in the middle of the wash making himself look dead. Later on Bobcat came along and saw the dead Coyote all stretched out looking dead in the middle of the wash. Bobcat went up to him and caught hold of his nose. In those days Coyote had a shorter nose than he does now. Bobcat then stretched out Coyote's nose and made it very long and pointed as it is today. That's why the Coyote has a long nose.                 

Then Bobcat went on his way, leaving Coyote lying there. After while Coyote woke up. He could see his nose sticking way out further than it used to be. This made Coyote mad and he said, "I'll catch up with that guy." Coyote then went up the wash and there he found the Bobcat lying there looking dead again. Coyote went up to Bobcat and started patting his nose and pushing it in making his head round. That's why Bobcat has a round head and a short nose today.             

Coyote got the best of the deal in this trickery. In the past when he went to drink with his round head, his mouth would only reach down a short distance into those tiny water pockets in the rocks. Now that he had a long pointed nose he could stick it all the way down to the bottom and drink all the water. It was rather bad for Bobcat, however, who now had a round head and nose. He couldn't drink from those water pockets as easily.             


Coyote and the Geese

Woodrow Pete, Cedar City                

One time Coyote was out hunting and he heard some singing. He looked around to see if he could tell where the singing was coming from but he couldn't tell. The singing had come from a flock of geese that were flying in formation overhead. The leader of the geese wished that Coyote would look up and find them. This wish came true as Coyote looked up and saw the flock of geese, then he knew where the singing was coming from.              

Coyote waved his arms at them and told them to come down to him. The Geese flew down and landed beside him. Then Coyote asked them if he could go with them. They each gave him a feather so he could fly. Soon they took off and Coyote was flying alongside them. Coyote was doing everything wrong as they flew along. He spoiled the pretty "V-shaped" formation and he wasn't singing like the geese as they flew along. He     seemed to be doing everything backwards.             

After flying some distance the leader of the geese thought that Coyote hadn't better go any further with them because of all his mistakes so they took his feathers away from him and he fell to the ground. He landed head first on top of a rock, breaking his head open. He lay unconscious for some time and then he woke up. He looked around and he saw some white stuff lying next to him. It looked like mush that maybe someone had brought to him to eat. Thinking it was mush he ate it. Soon the top of his head felt cold.          

He felt it and found that his head was busted and that the stuff he had eaten was his own brains.


Coyote and the Geese & the Origin of Menstruation

Morris Jake, Kaibab

One time Coyote was out hunting and he heard some singing. He looked around to see if he could tell where it was coming from but he couldn't. The singing came from a flock of geese that were flying in formation overhead. The leader of the geese wished that Coyote would look up and find them. Coyote looked up, spotted them, and then knew where the singing was coming from. Coyote waved his arms at them and told them to come down to him. The Geese flew down to him and Coyote asked them if he could fly with them.

Each one of the geese gave him a feather so he could fly. They then took off and Coyote was flying along with them. Coyote was doing everything wrong as they flew along. He spoiled the pretty "V-shaped" formation and he wasn't singing like the geese. He seemed to be doing everything backwards. Soon the leader of the geese thought that Coyote hadn't better go any further with them because of all his mistakes, so they took his feathers away from him and he fell to the ground. He landed headfirst on top of a rock breaking his head open. He lay unconscious for some time.

When the Geese returned, they woke Coyote up to tell him where he could find a pregnant woman so he could get her child and eat it as was the custom then. Coyote saw his brains lying on the ground, and thinking it was mush that someone had brought him, he ate it. Soon the top of his head felt cold. He felt it and found that his head was broken and that the stuff he had eaten was his own brains.

He then took off and ran and ran until he came to the place where the geese told him he could find the pregnant woman. He shook the woman and soon the child came out. It was a girl and he said that he was going to keep her for his own daughter. He fed and raised her and when she was getting quite big he took something and made breasts upon the girl. It was also about time for the girl to begin to menstruate. Meanwhile, Coyote and his daughter went south to Mount Charleston where his uncle lived. While they were there his uncle had killed a mountain sheep and he told Coyote and his daughter to go get it so they did.

Now Coyote was always keeping an eye on his daughter and told her that when she sat down, to sit facing towards him. She was doing this while Coyote was butchering the mountain sheep. Coyote, seeing the sheep's blood spilt upon the ground, took a handful of it and threw it between his daughter's legs and thus she began to bleed. He also gave her rules and regulations regarding it and this is how it came to be that women menstruate.


Coyote and the Geese

Serena Mose, Shivwits

Suhuhkwawhoyp oonguh Soonungwuv oong uhduh. Aitawng ovaiuk suhuhkawhai,

Coyote was going along acting tough. Then while he was acting tough,

ovaiuk enee'nung uhd, "Huvantuh kwaik? Maaw'took sookopenee aik!"

While he was doing this, "Where is it said? Someplace something is said!"

Aipuhku. "Poowudoai ung, poowudoai ung" aipuhkuntuhm, oonineench.

He (the leader of the geese) said, "Medicine him, medicine him!" he said, while doing


Aipuhku "Hunin huneuk'uhunt oong, line up echuhvuhkunt

He (Coyote) said "I wonder what is his name, the one that lines up

owts'uhnee paiudok'ee toohoomp'ai?" "uhm" maipuhku, "oonee'kawhunt

real good in the sky?" "It was them" he said, "doing that

toohoompaiudos." "Soonungwuv ung mun oonin'ee suhuh'kakahais."

in the sky." "There's Coyote, the one doing that, going along tough."

Punungk'wum puhnee'kawkai ungu'vawchuh. Aitawng, oongwus, Soonungwuv

They were looking down at him as they went along. At that time, he, Coyote

oong, uhm udook'waw tohok'w. "Mum udu aikuh'kunt "poowudowunin,' ainun

uhd," aipuhku.

was running under them. "It was them who said 'medicine me,' just as I said," he


Aitawng uhduh uhm uhvenunk uhm uhvuh'kwawhunt poa,

Then as he was following under their trail,

"Nuh mumeem' whaimpai." Aitawng oonee oong wuhngwuhs oong,

"Let me go with you." Then did these same ones,

yuhsuhd'uhmuhnee, aitawng oovai, oomus aik

the kind that flies, right there, these same ones said,


This song is sung here:


"Nuhmee kwuneek'wu weev'uh awn tuhkaw neudum, uhmuh

"We're all going to eat grass real good," them.

"Nuhmee kwuneek'wu, uvuhn'ee, weev'uh awn tuhkaw neudum" uhmuh.

"We'e all going, in a hurry, to eat grass real good" them.


Aikuh puhkuhm, uhmuhs oong, wetseech oong, wetseekadum oong.

That's what they were saying, them same ones, the birds, the ones that were flying.


The following song is sung here:


"Uhvuhchawng udum, aikooung, mamaw kawngwung, feathers emuntook."

"Lets all go, when he's saying that, and give him some feathers."

Toovai muhdoong ungwu'vachuhk (munee'kum puhvawk).

They went down to him; (went like this, right there).

Aitawng, feathers emunt'ook ootoo'vechuk. Oongwung'wuk oongwaius,


Thereupon, they pulled out some feathers and gave it to him, that same one, Coyote.

Ooneekai wuhmpuhku. "Uhvuhng'wuk try eng ook" aipuhku.

They kept doing this. "Go ahead, try it" they said.

Aitawng ooneeng'oomuhpuhku wetseek oomee'haieku try epuhkaik.

Then he kept trying to fly but only went a little way each time he tried.

Aitawng penunk, ovaiuk ooneehais, wetsee'kuhpuhku.

Then later, when he tried again, he flew.


This song is sung here:


"Kawtch uhvuh'nee nunum pawhun'ee uhvuh'nee num."

"Don't do it bad with us, any which way with us."

"Ooneeng'waisump poa yawn nuhmee'venunk wawhais."

"Don't do it again, on our trail, following along behind us."

"Wuhnuhm'ee poa vawn'ee nuhme oonee'num."

"Stand on our trail as we do."


(Translated from an old tape recorded by Martineau by  Serena Mose, Shivwits. She didn't complete the story.)



Florence Kanosh, Koosharem

The reason a woman shouldn't eat meat during her period is that long ago Soonungwuv and some Indians were together. The Indians killed a deer and a woman was going to cut some of the meat up and fry it. While she was doing this, Soonungwuv threw some of the deer's blood on her dress causing her to have a period. Coyote then told her she wasn't supposed to eat meat anymore during her monthly. Maybe he said this because he wanted to eat all the meat himself.



Lyman Smokey, Shivwits

Soonungwuv was told there was a pregnant lady lying down there someplace. Soonungwuv pressed on her stomach and squeezed a baby girl out. The lady died when he did this and so Soonungwuv was left alone with the baby. They then headed towards Mount Charleston, way up on top of that pointed mountain. The baby was crying all the way until they reached the home of Toovuts. That's where the girl grew up, at her uncle's place.

When she was big, Soonungwuv and the girl went out hunting. Soonungwuv killed a deer and while he was gutting it the girl was sitting towards him with her legs spread open. Soonungwuv asked the girl to hold the deer for him. The deer's blood had began to coagulate just like jello. Soonungwuv then threw some of that coagulated blood between her spread legs. It got all over her pubic hairs. That's how come women have their period. Soonungwuv said, "You are going to have a period." If he didn't do that women wouldn't have their period. See! That's what he did!

(Lyman Smokey gave the foregoing story fragment as part of the Morning Dove Brothers legend. Many Paiute legends were extremely long, sometimes taking all night to tell and even days; therefore, there is no certainty whether these two legends are the same. The informant might have figured the stories were connected since Coyote went down near Mount Charleston to fight Iron Clothes. Since that is where Coyote was when he made the pregnant lady deliver, he might have thought the stories were connected. In reality, they could have been the same story.)


Coyote and the Duck

Morris Jake, Kaibab

A long time ago Coyote's son was in love with a certain girl. Coyote was the jealous type. He wanted his son's girl friend for himself but that girl didn't want Coyote; she wanted his son. Coyote tried many things to win her but failed at everything he tried. He eventually made the girl mad by telling all kinds of phony stories about himself.

Well, one evening, that girl went over there to see Coyote's son. Coyote showed up to cut his son out and so the girl said, "I'm getting tired of you; what you say all the time. I think I better go." When the girl got up she put her hand on the young man's head and stuck her finger down in his head, down through the skull. Then the young man went home. During that night he got very sick. Coyote didn't know what to do; It was all his fault. He started running around, scratching his head, not knowing what to do. Then he thought about that Doctor who lived down by the lake, about twenty miles away.

The Doctor was Chuhkaw Nawpuhts, Old Man Duck. Coyote said, "I'm going down there to see my partner. He used to take care of any bad sickness." So Coyote took off down the country. As he was arriving, Duck was alongside the lake, close to the banks. He saw Coyote coming so he swam over towards the middle of the lake so Coyote couldn't get to him. Coyote was in a hurry, his son was awful sick. Therefore, he cussed Duck for going out in the middle and said, "Get back over here, I'm in a tough fix. If you don't get over here I'm going to lose my boy." Duck said, "What's it all about, what is it?" Coyote replied and said, "My boy, he's awful sick. Get over here and go doctor him! Get over here before I get after you!" Duck answered and said, "OK, get a big bundle of that peso'uv" (the grass that ducks eat that's on the water).

So Coyote got a great big load of it on his back and Duck climbed on top of it. Then Coyote took off as fast as his legs could carry him back towards his sick boy. As they were traveling, that old Duck began to chew on the top of Coyotes bundle of duck food, right from the top to the bottom. Coyote could hear him eating and eating. By the time they got about half way, that Duck had eaten all the food from off Coyotes back.

Then Duck took off and flew back towards the pond. Coyote turned his head to look back and nobody was back there, all that food he had on his back was all gone also. Coyote started back to the pond but before he got there he filled his pockets with stones. He was going to hit that Duck. As soon as Duck saw Coyote coming he did the same thing as before and started out for the middle of the pond. The same conversation occurred as before with Coyote ending up getting a very big load of duck food this time. They started back towards Coyote's home with Duck again riding way up on top of Coyotes load of duck food.

That old Duck, he did the same thing as soon as they started off. By the time they had gone half way he had all that stuff eaten up again and then he flew back to his pond and that really made Coyote mad. He picked up a stick this time. He was really going to beat up that Old Man Duck, that old medicine man. However, Coyote just had to stand on the bank bawling him out because Duck was again out in the middle of his pond. Finally Duck again came over and said, "This time really take a big load, don't just take those little jags.”

This time Coyote really took a big load, he could hardly see where he was going. That duck food was all over his head and hanging down covering his eyes. This time they made it to Coyote's home and sure enough that young man was really sick, he was ready to die any minute. Then Duck started singing a medicine song. He sang and danced, trying everything he could, and finally he figured out the cause of the young man's illness. Duck then told Coyote, "There was a girl after this boy and she got mad all because of you Coyote. You was trying to cut him out, so that girl stuck a fingernail right down in his head, down through his skull." The Duck sang and worked around the boy some more and then pulled the fingernail out with his long bill. Then he went back to his pond.


Coyote and the Porcupine

Woodrow Pete, Cedar City

One time Porcupine went hunting and killed a buffalo. After he had killed it he found that he didn't have a knife to skin it with. He then began looking around for something to skin his buffalo. As he was looking he said to himself "Empuhm'suhunt tuhun'ee?" "What could I use to skin it with?" He kept saying this over and over until it sounded like a song.

While Porcupine was doing this, Coyote was walking nearby and heard this

peculiar song but couldn't tell where it was coming from. As he was looking to find where the sound originated, it suddenly stopped. Pretty soon it started up again and then he found that the sound was coming from Porcupine who was off to his right a ways. He started over towards Porcupine. When Porcupine saw that Coyote was coming, he knew that he would try to take his buffalo away if he found that he had one. Porcupine changed what he was saying to fool Coyote, and said, "Empuhm'suhunt wawwaws'evuts?" "What shall I use to wash it?" Coyote then said to Porcupine, "I heard what you said. What did you kill?" Porcupine said, "I didn't say that. I was just saying 'Empuhm'suhunt wawaws'evuts?"

They kept on arguing until Porcupine finally gave up and told Coyote that he had

killed a buffalo. He then took Coyote to the dead buffalo. When they got there Coyote said, "Let's play a game. Let's see which one of us can jump over the buffalo, and the one that does gets to keep it." Porcupine said, "I can't jump that high" but he agreed to play the game. Coyote backed up about ten steps and then jumped over the buffalo without even touching it. Then porcupine tried it but he couldn't even make it half way up. Coyote won the buffalo.

Coyote then cleaned the buffalo and cut it into different pieces. When he was done

he hung it all up in a tree and went home to get his children to come and help him pack the buffalo home.

While he was gone, Porcupine came along and saw it hanging in the tree. Porcupine was sort of a medicine man so he made the tree grow tall putting the buffalo out of reach of Coyote. He then got up in the tree and waited for Coyote. When Coyote came along he began looking for the tree where he had hung the buffalo. He couldn't find it and said to himself, "That tree was right here someplace." While Coyote was looking, Porcupine used his medicine to make Coyote look up and find him. Coyote then looked up and found his buffalo and the Porcupine. He knew that he couldn't get the buffalo so he asked Porcupine just to toss him down a little piece of meat. Porcupine said "Yes" and tossed a little piece of meat down. It hit Coyote right on top of the head and knocked him out.


Coyote and the Porcupine

Morris Jake, Kaibab

One time, long ago, Porcupine was fooling around on the other side of a river. It must have been a big river. There was a herd of buffalo on the other side. He hollered at them and told them to come over and get him, he had to be over there among them on the other side. Those buffalo, they just laughed and said "Where could we keep that guy if someone did want to take him across? We can't keep him on our backs when we swim. We go under water a little bit and that guy is liable to drop off and go down the river." Porcupine was fooling the buffalo. He had some tricks up his sleeve, that guy. So the buffalo crossed the river and asked Porcupine, "Where are you going to ride? If you're going across you have to ride someplace." That Porcupine said, "The best place to ride is way down inside of you, way down there alongside the heart."

Porcupine was wise. He knew what he was after and had his trick all figured out. Anyway he took a chance, he went way down inside and lay down close to one of the buffalo's heart. Occasionally, while they were going across the river, Porcupine would ask him how far they had come. Buffalo would answer, "We're just about half-way now, we're not over there yet, but we're getting close." Porcupine wanted to know exactly when they reached the shore because when they got out of the river a little ways he was going to hit that heart with that wicked tail of his; he was going to hit him right in the heart.

Porcupine kept on asking until they finally reached the opposite shore. He asked him again where they were and Buffalo said, "We're getting out of the river, we're going up on the bank now. We're not on top yet but we're getting out of the river." A few moments later Porcupine asked again, "About where are we now?" Buffalo said, "Well, we're getting up on the top now. We're clear out of the river." That's the time Porcupine hit Buffalo's heart with his tail. He tapped Buffalo's heart, really banging it, when it was pumping away. That old buffalo just went a little ways and keeled over and then the Porcupine came out from inside the dead carcass.

Then Porcupine wanted to start butchering that old boy. Now he didn't know what to butcher with. As he was looking around for something to butcher it with, he kept saying "Empuhm'suhunt tuhun'ee? Empuhm'suhunt tuhun'ee?" "What could I use to skin it?" He kept saying this over and over until it sounded like a song.

Now that old crazy Coyote was nearby and heard him. He had left home because his wife had sent him after some squawbush twigs. Coyote couldn't tell where the song was coming from. As he was looking to find where the sound originated, it suddenly stopped. Soon it started up again and then he found that the sound was coming from Porcupine who was a little ways off to his right. He then went towards Porcupine.

When Porcupine saw that Coyote was coming, he knew that he would try to take his buffalo away if he found that he had one. Porcupine then changed what he was saying to fool Coyote. He began saying "Empuhm'suhunt wawaws'evuts. Empuhm'suhunt wawaws'evuts." "What am I going to wash it with?" When Coyote heard Porcupine saying this he ran up to him and said, "What are you talking about?" Porcupine then said, "I was only saying 'Empuhm'suhunt wawaws'evuts,' that's what I was saying." He was trying to fool that Coyote. "No! I heard it plain! I heard you! You said 'you wondered what you were going to butcher with! I heard you! You're going to have to tell me where that Buffalo is lying." Porcupine was trying to get out of his dilemma but Coyote got kind of rough and shook him around a little bit. Coyote said, "You better tell me where that Buffalo is lying, or whatever you killed! I heard you! You said, 'what am I going to butcher with." Porcupine answered "No! I didn't say that! I said 'I wonder what I'm going to wash with." Coyote said, "No, I don't believe you. Come on! You have to speak up or else I'm going to tap you on the head with a stick."

Porcupine kept on insisting that he hadn't killed anything and wouldn't tell Coyote

what he had killed. Finally Coyote got himself a great big stick and tapped Porcupine over the head and stretched him out. He hit him two or three times and knocked him cold. Then he traced Porcupine's tracks and came to the dead buffalo, just laying there, a great big animal.

So he got his knife out and went to work. He quartered him and cut him all up good. While he was doing this he splashed blood all over himself so his old lady could see it. He put blood on his face and all over his body. Then he ran home to get his family and as soon as he came to his place he started talking to them while sticking his hands out so his kids and old lady could see all that blood on them. All of Coyotes kids then gathered around and licked on their daddy's fingers, licking all that blood off, just as Coyote pups would do. His wife thought that was the kind of a man to have, someone who would go

out there and kill some meat.

I guess Coyote's wife threw her arms around Coyote right there and made love to

him for a while. He had done a great thing. Really, however, Coyote had just taken

another man's meat away. That's what he had done.

Then he started getting after his old lady and said, "How come you're always

sending me after squawbush? You're the one that's always sending me after that bush. I shouldn't do that! It's better for me to go and kill something to eat." At the same time it wasn't Coyote who had killed the buffalo. He just took it away from the other guy. Then Coyote gathered up his ropes and sacks and wanted to move his family over to the dead buffalo to eat up all the insides that he had cut up and hung on a pine tree to cool off.

While Coyote was gone, Porcupine, the guy that he knocked cold, finally came to. Porcupine was sort of a medicine man so he climbed that tree where the buffalo meat was hanging and he told that tree, "Grow, and keep growing until you get way up there and become a tall pine tree!"

Soon Coyote returned with his entire family stringing along behind to where he had

left the buffalo meat. Coyote then began to look around where he had butchered the buffalo. He showed his kids and said, "What happened? There was a tree right here where that buffalo keeled over and where I hung the meat. It was around here someplace." Porcupine, meanwhile, was way up there using his medicine and saying to himself, "I hope Coyote looks up here." Coyote looked up and there it was, the butchered buffalo and Porcupine, way up there. That tree had grown. Coyote then felt rather ashamed. His wife and kids were there and had believed his big story and now they found out that all along Coyote was just fooling them. He wasn't the one that had done the killing; it was Porcupine that had done all the work.

Then Coyote said to Porcupine, "Why don't you throw me down some of that jelled blood. Why don't you throw that down, some for the boys too, if you don't mind." Porcupine had all the meat up there, including the hump, with all it's sharp bones sticking out; he had sharpened them. He then said to Coyote, and his pups, "All of you lie down along side each other and then I'll let something down for you." When they were all lying down along side each other Porcupine dropped the sharpened backbone down upon Coyote and his family. That backbone cut all of them up.

There was only one kid left out of the entire family. He was just a little boy. The backbone had just missed him. That kid started crying so Porcupine told him to come on up. So the little boy went on up and they dined for a while on that meat hanging in the tree. They had all the meat they wanted. After that kid had a heavy supper he said, "Where can I go to the bathroom? Where is it at?" Porcupine said, "It's way out there on the end of the furthermost branch. Get way out there! That stuff stinks!" Then the little boy went way out there on the tip of a limb. Just as he was taking his clothes off and setting down getting all ready to go to the bathroom, the Porcupine kicked the branch and shook that kid off. He fell off and hit the ground hard and was squashed flat.


Why Indians Don't Eat Coyote's

Morris Jake, Kaibab

A long time ago, when the animals used to be human, each agreed to turn themselves into different kinds of animals so that the Indians would have some meat to eat. They all did this except Coyote. He didn't want to be eaten so he urinated all over himself so nobody would eat him. That's the reason Indians don't eat coyotes today.


Eagle and the Tortoise

Morris Jake, Kaibab

A long time ago Eagle and his mother used to live down by Needles, California, and would live off the mesquite trees there. Eagle wanted to come up north and see the country up here. He told his mother and she made him a lunch by pounding him something with a mortar and pestle. He then began his journey and while he was going along his way, he met Peekai (Aiyah) the Tortoise. Tortoise said he wanted to go along. Eagle agreed and so they both went on their way.

While traveling along, Tortoise made himself a pretty hat out of flowers to sort of show off when he got up north. Meanwhile the Shivwits were walking around down by Beaver Dam, Arizona, and saw Tortoise. They made fun of him and took his hat away. This made Tortoise mad and he turned around right there and said he wasn't going any further north. That's why you never see the Tortoise any further north than that.

In that area there was a couple that had a very pretty daughter that all the men wanted to marry. Her parents had a test that had to be passed before she would be allowed to marry. The test consisted of having to go back into a cave that the parents would fill with smoke. The person being tested had to endure this smoke without closing his eyes. Everyone who attempted this test failed. The Shivwits men tried also but they all failed and that's why they have squint eyes because they all tried to keep their eyes open in the thick smoke. Eagle tried this test and while he was in the thick of the smoke he closed his transparent inner eye lids that eagles have, and when the parents looked in they thought his eyes where still open. He passed the test and won the girl.

This made Coyote jealous and he tried to cause trouble between Eagle and the Shivwits. He challenged Eagle to some contests. One was a fist fight. Now the Shivwits

used to be good fist fighters and the best was chosen for this fight. They fought and fought and soon became tired. Then Eagle used his long claws and scratched the other very bad and won the contest. They also had a foot race but here Eagle lost because an

Eagle can' run fast. He's even that way today.

They were next going to see who were the best hunters. They all went out hunting,

but Eagle easily won and killed nothing but fat rabbits. His father-in-law was with him and Eagle told him to carry some of the rabbits home. When Eagle came home he wasn't carrying anything and the Shivwits made fun of him. Eagle felt sorry for them and Coyote, and told them that he had killed some rabbits out there, and that they could go and keep them if they would pick up all his arrows and return them.

When they went to get the rabbits Coyote decided he didn't want to return the arrows so he urinated on them and shot them away. When they returned they told Eagle they couldn't find his arrows. Eagle then went out and found where they had been shot and returned mad and said, "Maybe we should have a war and get it over with." Coyote said, "Not me!" The Shivwits also backed out.

Eagle then moved up north to the mountains to live and liked it. He returned and got his mother and said he had found a pretty place to live and so he took her with him and that's why the Eagle lives in the mountains to the north and the Tortoise in the valleys to the south.


Chicken Hawk and the Fast Fly

Morris Jake, Kaibab

One time a man beat up on his wife and left her out in the woods. He then told the people that she was lost and wanted someone to go find her. No one would go until he finally forced a little fly that can dart around quickly. As Fly could cover the country very fast he soon found her; she was sitting in the nest of Awsee'uvuhvuhts "Chicken Hawk." She was there with Chicken Hawk's mother, while he was away. Fly returned and told the man that he had found his wife. This man then said he would give his wife to anyone who would go and get her. No one wanted to until he finally persuaded a certain little bird that was the best fighter they had. A good fighter was needed to whip Chicken Hawk. Fly said, "I don't want to fight for her, but I'll lead the bird to Chicken Hawk's nest."

When they arrived there and Chicken Hawk found out what was going on he said, “What do you want to fight me for? I just found her all beaten up so I took her home to take care of her.” This didn’t change things so they got into a fight and fought and fought but couldn’t kill each other. The mother of the bird that was fighting Chicken Hawk had told him that to kill Hawk you had to aim about two feet above his head as that was where his mind was. He remembered this and at last killed Hawk.

Now Chicken Hawk had told his mother that if he was killed she was not to feel bad but to take and boil him. She did this and he came back to life. He then went to continue the battle with Bird. Now it was said that when Chicken Hawk got mad it would become cloudy, and that when Bird got mad the land would turn gray. This happened while they were fighting and nobody could watch the fight except Fly; he could dart in and out of the fog and watch. They fought and fought and this time Hawk remembered that his mother had told him that Bird’s mind was also about two feet above his head, as was his own mind, so there is where he aimed and he killed Bird.

When it was all over the Indians wised up and figured out that it was the husband who had beaten up his wife who was causing all the trouble. Now it was to late, because

they had lost their best fighter.


Orion's Belt

Morris Jake, Kaibab

One time Coyote was building a shade house and he had his two daughters go up on top to place limbs over the holes. Coyote told them to stand over the holes so he could see up between their legs. This led to sexual intercourse with them. Because of this, Coyote's daughters and one son left and went up into the sky. They are the three stars in Orion's Belt. This constellation is called "Nawhung" (plural for mountain sheep).

(According to the Shivwits version, Coyotes daughters became the Constellation Pleiades, and his three sons became the three stars in Orion's Belt. This also conforms to the neighboring Hualapai legend wherein one of the three stars in Orion's belt is a mountain sheep.)


Orion's Belt

Archie Rogers, Shivwits

A long time ago Soonungwuv (Coyote) had a wife, daughters, sons, and everything he needed. One day he went out hunting with his children. There was a big rock sitting there and he was trying to catch a squirrel in a crack in that rock. Coyote told his daughters to get the squirrel and then he tried to do everything to them (sexually) while they were doing as he told them.

His daughters couldn't catch the squirrel and got mad because of all the things Coyote was doing to them. Then they started going up in the sky to get away from Coyote. They just kept going up and up. Later Coyote got mad at them and told them "You will become that one, Sonee'ung" (Pleiades), and so they became that constellation. Coyote's sons also went up and became Nawhung, the three stars in Orion's belt.


How the Indians Acquired Salt

Morris Jake, Kaibab

One time salt used to be human. That was when Indians didn't have any salt. Salt travelled all over the country and as he came to each little Indian camp he would ask them if he could stick his finger into their boiling meat. Some would let him and then when they tasted their meat they found that it tasted better. Salt then gave them instructions as to which way they should go. When the Indians followed his instructions and arrived at the designated place they found a salt deposit. They brought some home and ground it up on a rock and used it. This is how Indians got salt. There were some other Indian camps that wouldn't let him stick his finger into their boiling meat and unto this day there is no salt deposit around the vicinity of their land.


Why the Indians Have Lice

Morris jake, Kaibab

Coyote was the one who caused the Indians to have lice in their hair because he liked to lie in the lap of his two wives while they would pick the lice out. One time while he was doing this he fell asleep with his head on the lap of one of his wives. They raised his head up and put a log under it and then they both took off.


Owl and the Skunk

Morris Jake, Kaibab

The Owl, his wife, and son, were living together. Owl didn't get along very good with his wife. One time, when Owl was away, his wife planned how to get rid of him. She went and picked up all the flint flakes she could find and laid them at the place where Owl would always kick the snow off his feet when he arrived home. When he returned he did this, just as she figured, and got some flint chips in his feet that caused his death. Just before he died he told his wife to take their son and go to their uncle's place.

After his death they started off on their journey and on the way they came to Skunk's home. Skunk was out, but his wife and little boy were there and so they stayed awhile. While they were there Owl's little boy shot some arrows into a cactus. Before Skunk returned, Skunk's wife warned Owl and her son to leave because Skunk was real mean.

When Skunk returned home he looked around and noticed the little arrow marks in the cactus and asked his wife who had been staying here. She said, "No one." Skunk also noticed where someone had been sitting and had left a little depression. He asked again who had been there, but his wife replied "No one." When Skunk saw the arrow holes in the cactus Mrs. Skunk said she made them while making a basket and accidentally stuck some of the twigs into the cactus. Skunk didn't believe her. She also said that she made the impression where someone had been sitting, but Skunk also didn't believe that and said, "Your seat makes a rough impression not a smooth one!" He then tested her by setting her down to see what kind of impression she made. It was rough and so he proved her wrong.

He then asked her which way they went but she wouldn't say so he circled the house until he found their tracks and then he began following them. When he came to a big valley he looked across it hoping to see them but he didn't. He then decided to go no further because he had not overtaken them. Before he turned around he let out a big scent that formed a cloud and traveled across the valley getting bigger and blacker. When Mrs. Owl and her son saw it they hurried to avoid the storm but it caught up with them and was so powerful that it overcame them and they passed out.

Somehow Badger heard what happened to them and travelled across the valley by burrowing his way under the ground. Every once in a while he would come to the surface and look around. Finally as he came to the surface he found that he had passed them so he left his hole and walked back to them. He then sang over them until he revived them. He sang again and in his song he was saying he wanted something that belonged to Mrs. Owl. Mrs. Owl tried to figure out what he wanted and said, "Is it this?" referring to a part of her clothes. He said, "No." Then she said, "Is it this?" pointing at her pants. (This story probably has a sexual connotation here like the Shivwits version. Morris had a tendency to hold back a little in such cases.)

He said, "Yes" and she gave them to him. Then they went on their way.

(As told my Morris Jake, he said there is more to this story; it is a long story.)


Owl and the Skunk

Archie Rogers, Shivwits

This story starts at Castle Cliffs, Utah near Littlefield, Arizona. There are two caves there; a big one and a small one. They are called Moo-oon' Tuhngkawn Owl's Cave. The big cave was mother Owl's and her son's cave; the other belonged to Father Owl.














The sketch shows the actual

shape of these two caves.

Owl used to go hunting rabbits down in the valley but brought only the poor ones to his wife and son. Owl's wife went and spied on Owl and got mad because he kept all the fat rabbits to himself. She collected a lot of rabbit bones and placed them so Owl would get poked by them when he stomped his feet to shake the snow off as it was winter time. That night Owl lay suffering and moaning saying "O’oh." Owl's son wanted to go see him but his mom said, "No! Tell him to go, he's no good!" Before Owl died he told them to go to see Eagle down on the other side of Las Vegas someplace and marry him. He also told them not to stop anyplace on the way down, like at Skunk's and Crow's houses.

Then they went down that way. First they stopped at the Skunk's mother's place on the Virgin River. Skunk was out hunting rabbits. Later on he came back and smelled around and said, "Someone has been here." His mother replied, "No! No one has been here." He didn't believe her and said, "I want to know!" He kept saying this to his mother. Way later she gave in and said, "Yes. I met that lady from up there at Owl's Cave."

Skunk then went and chased after Owl and her son. When they saw Skunk coming they covered a young Joshua tree cactus with a rabbit skin blanket. Skunk saw it and started to hold, kiss, and love it, thinking it was a woman hiding beneath the blanket. He got poked all over by the cactus so he lifted up the blanket and looked under it but no lady was there. They had gotten away. That's why the giant Joshua cactus has black (red) tips at the ends of its stickers. This cactus is called choowaw' duhmp. The black tips are the skunks blood or something. After this, Skunk farted and made a great big black cloud float over Owl and her son and right there they passed out (died).

At that time Badger used to have a camp on that big hill this side of Glendale, Nevada, west of the road. He had lots of kids. Badger dreamed about what happened to Owl and her son He sent his children out to look for them but the only one that was successful was the youngest one. When they were found, Badger burrowed his way to them just under the ground because he can dig fast. He kept coming up on different sides of them, but finally he came up in the right place and restored them to life.

Badger wanted something as payment for his services so Owl said, "What do you want? Do you want my head? My arm? My shoulder?" She named nearly all of her body parts but Badger wanted none of them. Finally she pointed at her vagina and Badger said, "Toampok'weev" (his way of saying vagina). "Yes! That's what I want!" He got his wish and that's why a Badger has a penis like a human.

After Owl and her son were revived they journeyed to the wash near Glendale, Nevada (by that old airport beacon). Theres a cave and ledge there. Old man Owl also told them not to stop there on their way to Eagle's place beyond Las Vegas. When they arrived there they heard a lot of Indians there laughing and everything. (They had a name but I can't remember it.) Owl's son wanted to look in the cave but his mother said he shouldn't because his father told them not to stop there. The little boy didn't listen and stuck his head down in and saw all kinds of Indians. They were dancing, hollering, and everything. As soon as the Indians in the cave saw him sticking his head down in, they flipped their closed hands forward and opened up their fingers and Owl and her son passed out again.

Badger again dreamed about their deaths and knew where they were now because his youngest son had seen them. After Badger dug his way to her and revived her she already knew what he wanted. Badger again said "Toampok'weev" and he again received his payment for reviving them a second time. However, he didn't revive the boy until he was through with his mother. He was just left lying there.

Owl and her son then journeyed down past Las Vegas to a cave where Crow lived. They stopped there. That Crow, he just ate rotten meat and smelly old bones so they didn't get to eat well there. They then went on. (There are some songs here, when they got to that place, but I don't know them.) Then Eagle saw them, took them home, and they ate good. They got to eat rabbits, deer and everything.

(As told by Archie Rogers, Shivwits, June 1984.)


The Council of Bears

Vera Charles, Koosharem

There is a cave up by Fish Lake, Utah, someplace where all the bears gathered one time. As they entered the doorway, there was one bear that asked each one their name and where they came from. When they all had passed this check point they sat around in a council circle. A Paiute happened to be hiding nearby and heard what the bears had to say. The bears all talked Paiute and said they must kill all the Paiute Indians. One bear in the council circle had a very beautiful pipe.

The Indian then ran to tell his people that the bears had a council and were going to kill all the Paiutes. The Paiutes decided they must go and kill all the bears. The Indian who had overheard them said to the others, "Don't kill that bear with the pretty pipe, I want that pipe for myself." The Paiutes then went to that cave and killed all the bears except the one with the pipe. He escaped. This is a true story.

(As told to Vera Charles, Koosharem, by Florence Kanosh, Koosharem.)


The Bullet Hawks

Clifford Jake, Indian Peak

One time there were two bullet hawks, Kuhsawv and Sawkwaw' Kuhsawv. These two Hawks were diving down and killing all the animals and everyone complained about it. Soonungwuv then planned to kill these two Hawks and built himself a little house on the hill just east of Rush Lake, Utah. There he lay in wait for the two bullet hawks. They wouldn't come until all the water around about dried up. When they came to drink Soonungwuv shot them.

(As told by Clifford Jake, Indian Peak.)

The word sawkwaw can mean either blue or green. These colors are one and the same with many tribes.

Carl Jake showed me Soonungwuv's house and  (Coyote's) house at Rush Lake in 1956. He definitely called it Soonungwuv’s house and not Toovuts' as claimed by William Palmer.



(Southern Paiute)

This story was compiled from going over various Southern Paiute papers starting from the 1916’s to present from these Paiute bands: Shivwits, Moapa, Las Vegas and Chemehuevi. The versions that had the most repeats in the story were used. If it was only mentioned once it was not put in this story unless it was orally mentioned and taught from my relatives or elders from the Shivwits Band. (Shanandoah Anderson)

Another version for saying the first woman other than Hutsipah mamow would be: Kakaw’huhvoom (grandmother of many).


Long ago when the world was new and only the immortal waters covering the earth, no other living beings existed except Hutsipah mamow (Ocean Woman), and her daughter, Pohuv (Louse). Toovuts (Wolf), and his younger brother Soonungwuv (Coyote).

Toovuts and Hutsipah mamow were the first two male, female powerful beings and mother and father to all. They can be considered husband and wife even though it is never mentioned. Oral legend says, Hutsipah mamow made her own daughter Pohuv by herself and not from Toovuts.  

Water had covered the land for a long time, The first beings had but a small portion of land on the ocean. One day, Hutsipah mamow wanted to create more land, she did this by using her own body. She started by rubbing the dead skin from the creases of her body until finally she got enough, she then rolled it into a ball and crumbled it in her hand sprinkling it all over the surface of the ocean. As it floated the skin began to form together as she sprinkled and sprinkled it all around.

Once this was done, she climbed onto the floating skin laying down on her back with her head towards the west, her left arm to the north, her legs to the east and her right arm to the south. With her hands she then began to push the land away from her body as it stretched. She did the same with her feet, pushing out the land over and over again as it stretched and became bigger and bigger. Once she could not see the lands edge in the far distance, she stopped.

Hutsipah mamow wanted to know how big the land was, so she called for Toovuts and Soonungwuv to come and scout it out. Toovuts parted the ocean water to the new land and they went over. Once on this new land, Toovuts went east to west while Soonungwuv went north to south, going from one end to the other, singing as they went, “Hutsipah mamow, not yet, not yet.” They walked the land over and over for a long period of time as the land grew, singing now and then, “Hutsipah mamow, not yet, not yet.” Hutsipah mamow could hear them and would go and stretch the land some more as they went. After a long period of time had passed, they finally reached the ocean shores from one end to the other, there they cried, “Hutsipah mamow, that’s good, now there is enough land!”  Ocean Woman was then content knowing the new land was now finished. Wolf returned home, while coyote stayed on the new land.

Ocean Woman had stopped in between stretching long enough to form every kind of animal out of mud and clay. After she formed each one, she threw it out as far as she could into the new land and told them to scatter to the mountains and as far as they could go. 

After a long while when Wolf returned, Ocean Woman told her daughter, who was now a young woman, “Go out to the land and see if you find any living beings, make sure you look all over the land.” Pohuv said she would and her mother laid down a feather on the ocean waters so she could cross. Pohuv went and looked everywhere but didn’t see anyone and went back home. Her mother told her to go again, “I don’t think you looked everywhere, go back and look again and make sure you look in the mountains.”  Pohuv went this time searching longer over all the land and in the mountains, singing as she went along. When she returned a second time, she told her mother she only seen a Coyote.

 Hutsipah mamow told her daughter, “Go and get that coyote and bring him here. Since you can’t find anyone else, you need to go get him for your husband.” Pohuv went back as her mother wished to where she seen coyote and when she found him, said, “I have come on behalf of my mother, she has asked for you to come back with me across the ocean where we live.” Coyote had seen her walking the land before but kept hidden, he was struck by her beauty, he did not know she was Ocean Woman’s daughter since he had been on the new land awhile as Pohuv grew into a young woman. He watched the way she moved and sang her songs as she walked, and was already in love with her. He replied anxiously, “I will go with you on one condition, that you marry me when we get there.” Pohuv did not want him that way but replied, “Yes, I will marry you but first you must go build a brush house down by the river bank, and I will come down and be with you in there.” Soonungwuv was all excited and went down to the river bank to build the brush hut. When he was done building the house, he went inside to lay down and wait for Pohuv. When she seen that he completed the brush house, she wished for Coyote to fall fast asleep and this happened as she wished and he fell into a deep sleep. Pohuv then ran past the house without stopping, towards home. She sang as she went “Soonungwuv built a house down by the river.”

When Soonungwuv awoke, he said, “What is the matter with me? I was here waiting for Pohuv to arrive.” He then got up and went to look for her and seen her tracks headed down river. He left at high speed going after her. When he caught up with her, he said. “I must have fallen asleep waiting for you.” Pohuv said, “If you still want to be with me, you need to go build the brush house and I will come to you.” Soonungwuv again went to the river to build the brush hut and went in to wait for her. Pohuv wished for him to fall asleep again and he did. This happened two more times the same way, before they finally reached the ocean waters.

 Pohuv proceeded to lay down a long feather just as her mother did for her, to cross the ocean and told Coyote to follow her. When she was nearly across, she tipped the feather upwards to topple Coyote into the water and waited to see if he came back to the surface of the water. When he didn’t, she continued towards her home. Unknown to Pohuv, when the feather went up, Soonungwuv flew into the sky, towards her home and landed way before Pohuv made it there (another version is he turned into a water strider and walked on the water to the land). He walked around exploring the land until he came upon Hutsipah mamow who sent him to Pohuvs lodge to wait without saying a word.

When Pohuv arrived on the shore she was greeted by her mother, and proceeded to tell her mother what happened, “Soonungwuv fell into the water and drowned, I waited for him to come up but he never did.”  Hutsipah mamow then told her daughter, “No, he is waiting for you in your lodge, you need to keep him as your husband because you can’t find anyone else.” Pohuv gave in and went to go lay with Soonungwuv in her lodge. Soonungwuv was eager to lay with her but when she lay down beside him, he was too afraid to do anything and eventually gave up and left the lodge.

 Hutsipah mamow seen Sonungwuv and said, “I sent for you to come and be with my daughter. Since you can’t do nothing with her, you need to go out and hunt for a deer and bring me the first vertebra from the deer.” Sonungwuv did as he was told and went back to the new land as a water strider across the ocean to kill the deer. He then killed and took the first vertebra from the deer and brought it back to Hutsipah mamow. “Very well, now you can have my daughter and be with her” said Hutsipah mamow, “You need to put this vertebra on, but don’t let her see you wearing it. This will fix your problem and you can have your way with her.” Soonungwuv did as Hutsipah mamow said, and went back to the lodge to lay with his wife. Pohuv had a toothed vagina and when Soonungwuv wore the bone, the teeth could not bite into the bone and broke all off. He then had his way with her and from then on laid with his wife every night.

After a time, Pohuv was heavy with child and due to give birth, her mother had been preparing for this day since she first sent for Coyote. She had been weaving a basket big enough to take back to the new land. When the final weave was finished on the lid of the basket, she called for her daughter who then placed all her children into the basket until it was full. The basket was then shut and tied tightly and prepared for travel.  Hutsipah mamow told Toovuts to take the basket across to the new land but he told his younger brother to do it, since they were his children. He then called for Soonungwuv to go and see Hutsipah mamow, which she then proceeded to tell him, “You need to take this basket across the waters to the center of Puahant Tuvip (Holy Lands) and open it up when you reach a mountain that has snow (Navagantu). Promise me you will not open it up no matter what noises you hear inside.” Coyote promised he would not open it up. Toovuts again parted the ocean with his staff as he did before and Soonungwuv proceeded across the ocean to the shores of the new land.

When he got to the shore the basket had grown very heavy and he could hear movement inside. As he journeyed on further still, he could hear them singing inside and making noises. He finally stopped after many days of journey, set the basket on the ground and listened to the singing inside. He was eager to see what was in the basket and his curiosity finally got the best of him and he opened the lid. Immediately people started running out in all directions and he couldn’t stop them. He finally got it shut and peeked into the basket and seen just a small number of people left sitting in the dirty basket of excrement, so he closed the lid and tied it back up before anymore got out. He realized he had not kept his promise with Hutsipah mamow and didn’t know she had placed Pohuv and his children into the basket; which they grew while on his journey.

These were the first human being to populate the earth and Soonungwuv had scattered them in all directions. He was proud to know they were his children and began calling out to them naming each of them as they scattered in all four directions who then became the different tribes of the new land. With the remaining people in the basket, he continued on his way into Puahant Tuweap, where his brother Toovuts was waiting for him. Toovuts scolded Soonungwuv for breaking his promise to Hutsipah mamow and scattering the people so they are not of one Tribe.

They then proceeded on their journey stopping on their way at a cave east of their final stop at Navagantu. In this cave they left special powers through songs for the Nuwu so they would never be lost and always know where they came from.  They then proceeded to take the basket of the remaining people to Navagantu where they were then let the people out of the basket. Toovuts, told them they were a strong people to wait as long as they did in the basket and for that he gave them endurance and most importantly, the power of song, telling them to sing of this journey and never forget of how the people were made on this trail leading to the salt and back to creation. Soonungwuv then gave them their name and said, “These are my children, and they shall be called Nuwu (Nungwu), The People.”

Here they remained, from when the earth was new. The grandchildren of Hutsipah mamow and Toovuts, the children of Soonungwuv and Pohuv. It is said when Soonungwuv took them to Navagantu, they went to the top of the mountain as the big horned sheep, birthed by Pohuv and Soonungwuv and came down the mountain as Nuwu; The People.

Both of these brothers, take the form of Wolf and Coyote and are held as Creator Beings to the Southern Paiute people, who shaped the world as it is today. Toovuts had more power than his brother, he is the righteous one who wants peace, love and people to live forever. This made Soonungwuv jealous and he always tried to outdo his brother or kill him but he always came back to life. Toovuts let him be in his mischievous ways, changing things to the way they are today, for better or worse. For that Coyote became the trickster, because he had human desires and in filling them, he got himself and the entire creation into trouble. By disobeying Toovuts and trying to be better than him, he brought death, suffering and labor into this world as everything he did backfired. They are similar to God and Jesus and both can be prayed to, Jesus (Soonungwuv) brought his people to the land and God (Toovuts) is the all mighty and powerful one. Some of the older people today say, “And we follow Coyote” because they recognize him as their father.

The Nuwu do not worship the wolf or coyote in animal form but acknowledge them when they see them, knowing they are messengers and may be coming to tell them something.

Ocean Woman is the creator of all life, from the two-legged animals to four legged and beyond, she is the Grandmother of all human kind, creator of the land, vegetation, and water. She is our original Mother and Kakaw’huhvoom (grandmother of many), and as Nuwu, we have a connection to the land and all that is on it, created by Hutsipah mamow. It is our inherent rights and duty to be caretakers of this land; Puahant Tuweap. In return She will take care of us.

(Compiled by Shanandoah Anderson, Shivwits)



When Tuweap was young and newly created, Toovuts (Wolf), protector of all creations, along with his younger brother Soonungwuv (Coyote), lived upon the land.

Toovuts, let his younger brother do as he pleased when it came to the creation and changes of the land, animals and the Nuwu. He knew his brother was always competing with him and trying to out-do him, but still he had a good heart, always quick to make judgments that weren’t always the best for creation.


Tuweap was good for a time but soon, just as Coyote had a wandering eye, so did the men and woman carrying on with each other, sleeping with whomever without shame.

Toovuts, seeing this was angered, he called on his brother and told him, “The people are watching you, you need to set a good example to them, otherwise they will continue to imitate you, without shame, and do as you do. If you can show me that they know true love, then I will not have to punish them.” Soonungwuv said to his brother, “They are not all bad, you cannot punish them all, I will show you there is true love in their hearts.”


Soonuv wasn’t sure if he could find a couple who had true love in their hearts, as he was by nature always causing trouble even when he meant good. He did not want to show his brother that he could be wrong so, true to his nature of being a trickster, he planned on using his Puah (power) to make sure his plan worked.

He wandered all around the land until he came upon a young man and a young woman who would be perfect for his plan. He first went to the young man, while hiding in the bushes, he reached into his bag of puha and wished for some love medicine to be there; and it was. Taking this love medicine, he began rubbing it into his hand and blew towards the young man. He then journeyed on until he found a young woman and did the same thing to her. He filled their hearts with a longing for love that quickly overtook them. They both began to walk searching for this love they had in their hearts.

Not too long in their search, they came upon each other, both stopping in their tracks and gazing upon each other, their hearts filled with love, and soon were inseparable. They were soon doing everything together, never leaving each other’s side. 

Sitting by the river one day, they noticed two tree saplings growing close together, their branches were intertwined like two sets of arms holding each other. Their tree trunks were so laced together that no strong wind could blow them apart. The young man said to his love, “We shall grow old together as one, just as these two trees will do the same, our hearts will be as one.”

They each touched one of the trees, telling the trees of their love for each other and wishing to always be as one, singing of their love as they did so.


 Unoo’pits, was a spirit that lived in this area by the tree. He turned into a whirlwind and went by the young couple to listen to them and their talk of love. He waited for them to acknowledge him as the Nuwu do when seeing a whirlwind. When they ignored him, he became angered and was mad. He said, “I will spoil their love for each other, and bring suspicion and jealousy into their hearts, making them turn on each other.”

He again turned into a whirlwind but much bigger than before, traveling right through them, touching the heart of the young woman that soon turned cold, touching her eyes that soon blurred her vision of her love. When the wind died down and the lovers looked again at each other, their hearts had changed and anger took its place. She asked “Why did you not protect me from that whirlwind and cover me so I would be safe?” He in turn questions her anger and soon they began to argue.

The young woman eventually ran away crying into the trees before her lover could find her, hoping he would not follow her, and seeing her this way. She now had anger for him and questioned everything he did for her as hatred soon crept into her heart.

She walked for many miles until her feet could go no more, and there she stopped by a river stream to put her aching feet in the water and rest. Soon her lover had caught up with her and he went to sit by her side. She rapidly got up and jumped to the other side of the river before he could touch her.

From both sides of the river, they continued to quarrel, going on and on with anger. He asked her “Why are you suddenly questioning my love when I have done nothing but love you?”


Soonungwuv heard them quarreling, and his heart filled with sorrow. He told his older brother he must go to them because he knew Unoo’pits had done this to them. He knew he had to stop them from quarreling or many other hearts would soon suffer from all those they touched. Off he went to make change in what had happened. He first removed the love spell he had put on them in hopes that they truly did love each other. He then went and spoke to the young woman, “Do not let your hearts turn to hate for one another, your love is stronger than any spirit can break.”

The young woman would not listen but became angrier as he spoke, her lover joined in too to calm her but she continued on saying, “I will not listen to any of you!” Soonuv told her “It was Unoo’pits who did this to your heart, I can make it better if you will listen.” Yet she still refused. For a long part of the day, Soonungwuv talked but to no avail, darkness soon set in and the couple sat in silence on the opposite sides of the river.


Soonungwuv soon left back to where his brother, Toovuts was, to tell him what had happened. Love could not break what Unoo'pits had done, Toovuts said he would then take care of it. During the night Toovuts went quietly in the night a distance away from where the couple was sitting, he came to fix what his brother couldn’t. With a big thunderous sound placing his staff into Tuweap, the ground began to shake. There was a loud roar as the earth rumbled louder and louder, and soon water came rushing down the river stream, getting bigger and bigger as it went crashing by with boulders rumbling along the way causing a loud thunderous noise that filled the land. The couple could only run as quickly as they could on opposite sides of the river to higher ground.

The waters continued to rumble by, making the distance between them farther and farther apart. The young man, worried for the safety of his woman, while hearing her faint cry’s get further and further away, calling to him beyond the darkness.

The ground was separating, as though the earth itself would break in half, as the night continued, so did the crack in the earth, as the powerful waters traveled through.

On the opposite side of the waters sat the young woman as she wept, not knowing if her love was ok. She felt a heavy heart, knowing she was wrong for not listening when they tried to tell her who was at fault. She pleaded with Soonungwuv to listen to her changed heart as the roaring waters continued on by her, her pleas of love were being drowned out with each breath she took.

When morning came and the earth shook no more, there came a silence upon the land. No rumble of the boulders, no rushing waters and no wind to be heard. The young lovers looked out upon the land only to see the new formations laid out right before them. The young woman could see in the distance her lover waving wildly at her, jumping up and down so she could see him. She waved back to him then reached out her arms to him as he did the same for her. They would never be able to reach each other as debris of huge boulders were everywhere and no way to cross. It is there that they stood facing each other, longing to hold one another with broken hearts. It is there they died, never leaving that spot in fear of losing site of each other. Soonungwuv took pity on them, and turned them to stone just as they were facing each other, in remembrance of the love they shared for one another. 

They were set in stone forever as a reminder to the people to always choose love, remove suspicion, jealousy and hate. Acknowledge Tuweap no matter where you are, or where you sit, such as the young couple who sat down but were too blinded to acknowledge their surroundings. 

The Grand Canyon is a reminder to the Nuwu to always do good, to love always, and give thanks, for it can be taken away as quickly as it came.

(As told by Shanandoah Anderson, Shivwits, from memory, as was told to her when she was a child.)

Dr. William Rees palmer wrote this same story but made changes to glamorize the story, making it into a Poem styled fairy tale. He used the names Yan-tan-ah for the young woman and Ke-ah-soit for the young man.

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