Salish Myths and Legends


Salish Myths and Legends

One People's Stories

Edited by M. Terry Thompson and Steven M. Egesdal

Native Literatures of the Americas and Indigenous World Literatures Series

498 pages
2 maps, 2 tables, index


July 2008


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

July 2008


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The rich storytelling traditions of Salish-speaking peoples in the Pacific Northwest of North America are showcased in this anthology of story, legend, song, and oratory. From the Bitterroot Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, Salish-speaking communities such as the Bella Coola, Shuswap, Tillamook, Quinault, Colville-Okanagan, Coeur d'Alene, and Flathead have always been guided and inspired by the stories of previous generations. Many of the most influential and powerful of those tales appear in this volume.
Salish Myths and Legends features an array of Trickster stories centered on Coyote, Mink, and other memorable characters, as well as stories of the frightening Basket Ogress, accounts of otherworldly journeys, classic epic cycles such as South Wind’s Journeys and the Bluejay Cycle, tales of such legendary animals as Beaver and Lady Louse from the beginning of time, and stories that explain why things are the way they are. The anthology also includes humorous traditional tales, speeches, and fascinating stories of encounters with whites, including “Circling Raven and the Jesuits.”
 Translated by leading scholars working in close collaboration with Salish storytellers, these stories are certain to entertain and provoke, vividly testifying to the enduring power of storytelling in Native communities.

Author Bio

M. Terry Thompson has conducted research on the Salish languages for forty years and is the coauthor of Thompson River Salish Dictionary and The Thompson Language.
Steven M. Egesdal is an expert on Salish languages and is the author of Stylized Character Speech in Thompson Salish Narrative.


"Any thorough reclaiming of a particular storytelling heritage enriches study of mythology, folktales, native cultures, and storytelling in general. This anthology serves all these purposes powerfully."—M. F. McClure, CHOICE

"The recording of oral texts is slow, difficult work full of intellectual and practical problems. One can only be grateful for the efforts of the several generations of scholars and communities members, including those represented here, who undertook this task."—Bruce Miller, Montana, the Magazine of Western History

Table of Contents

List of Maps     

List of Tables   



      Origins and Migrations 

      The Salishan Cultural Landscape    

      Imperiled Status of Salishan Languages   

      Writing Salishan Languages   

      Mythographic Presentation and Features of Narration  

      Genres of Salishan Oral Literature 

      Reverence for Traditional Narrative

      The Performative Context     

      History of Collecting Salishan Oral Literature 

      Organization of the Collection     

Language Characteristics     

      Steven M. Egesdal

Epic Stories     

South Wind's Journeys: A Tillamook Epic Reconstructed from Several Sources   

      Retold by Douglas E. Deur and M. Terry Thompson

A Bluejay Cycle: Traditional Quinault Stories  

      Told by Bob Pope

      Dell Hymes

Fly: A Southern Lushootseed Epic   

      Told by Annie Daniels and by Peter Heck

      Retold by Jay Miller

The Pentlatch Myth Corpus    

      M. Dale Kinkade

Basket Ogress Stories  

Ch'eni, the Giant Woman Who Stole Crying Children: A Traditional Lummi Story 

      Told by Aloysius Charles

      Richard Demers and Bill James

The Basket Ogress, Slapu<l/>: Two Traditional Klallam Stories    

      Told by Martha Charles John

      Steven M. Egesdal

Qálqali<l~>, the Basket Ogress: A Traditional Squamish Story     

      Told by Louis Miranda

      Aert H. Kuipers

Why Things Are the Way They Are    

The Transformer and the Blind Old Man: A Traditional Sooke Story 

      Told by Cecilia Joe

      Barbara S. Efrat

The Seal: A Traditional Sliammon-Comox Story   

      Told by Mary George

      Honoré Watanabe

How Kingfisher Got the Red under Her Wings: A Traditional Klallam Story

      Told by Amy Allen

      Steven M. Egesdal

Tribal Legends: Traditional Stories of the Cowlitz   

      Told by Roy Wilson

      Judith Irwin

Trickster Stories

Coyote and Buffalo: A Traditional Spokane Story

      Told by Margaret Sherwood

      Steven M. Egesdal

Coyote and the Goblin: A Traditional Shuswap Story   

      Told by Lilly Harry

      Aert H. Kuipers

The Place of Coyote: Two Traditional San Poil (Colville-Okanagan) Stories    

      Told by Bob Covington and William Burke

      Dell Hymes

N<A>'ík'smtm and Other Episodes of a Traditional Coyote Narrative

      Told by Hilda Austin and Millie Michell

      Steven M. Egesdal

Coyote Releases Salmon: A Traditional Moses-Columbian Story      

      Told by George Nanamkin

      M. Dale Kinkade

Skunk: A Traditional Colville Story

      Told by Charles Quintasket

      Dell Hymes

The Seal and the Raven: A Sechelt Raven Story  

      Told by Charlie Roberts and/or Jack Isidore

      Ralph Maud

Sun and Moon Are Brothers: A Traditional Quinault Story    

      Told by Bob Pope, interpreted by Harry Shale

      William R. Seaburg

Coyote and the Birds: A Traditional Coeur d'Alene Story    

      Told by Margaret Stensgar

      Ivy G. Doak and Margaret Stensgar

The Border Monsters: A Story about Salishan People from a Bordering Group    

      Told by Hal George

      J. V. (Jay) Powell and Luke J. Powell?

Historical Events

Battle at Sea: A Northern Lushootseed Historical Narrative 

      told by Wilson George

      Vi Taq<w>š<e>blu Hilbert and Thomas M. Hess

Qeyqeyší's Marriage: A Humorous Pend d'Oreille Story 

      Told by Pete Beaverhead

      Sarah G. Thomason

Sametl: A Chinook Jargon Rendering of a Saanich Story

      Told by Thomas Paul

      Dell Hymes

Chairman Roy Wilson's Cowlitz Desanctification Ceremony    

      Judith Irwin

Three Lillooet Stories 

      Told by Sam Mitchell, Martina LaRochelle, Rosie Joseph

      Jan P. van Eijk

Reminiscences from the Shuswap     

            Told by Lilly Harry

            Aert H. Kuipers

When the Animals Were People 

Lady Louse: A Traditional Northern Lushootseed Story

      Told by Vi Taq<w>š<e>blu Hilbert, based on Elizabeth Krise's version of the story

      Vi Taq<w>š<e>blu Hilbert

Black Bear and Grizzly Bear: A Traditional Upriver Halkomelem Story    

      Told by Dan Milo

      Ralph Maud

Beaver and Mouse: A Traditional Nooksack Story 

      Told by George Swanaset

      Pamela Amoss

Crow, Her Son, Her Daughter: A Traditional Southern Lushootseed Story  

      Told by Marion Davis

      Dell Hymes

The Whiteman as "Other"

The Sailor Who Jumped Ship and Was Befriended by Skagits: A Lushootseed Historical Story 

      Told by Susie Sampson Peter

      Jay Miller and Vi Taq<w>š<e>blu Hilbert

Circling Raven and the Jesuits: A Traditional Coeur d'Alene Story

      Told by Margaret Stensgar

      Ivy G. Doak and Margaret Stensgar


The Two-Headed Person: A Colville-Okanagan Oratory   

      Speech by William M. Charley, translated by William M. Charley, Clara Jack, and Anthony Mattina

      Anthony Mattina

Funeral Address of Chief Ti<?><l/>níc'e<?> to the Mourners of a Dead Child: A Thompson River Salish [N<l/>e<?>képmx] Oration

      Spoken by Chief Ti<?><l/>níc'e<?>

      Laurence C. Thompson and M. Terry Thompson


The Two Coyotes: A Humorous Lillooet Story     

      Told by Bill Edwards

      Jan P. van Eijk

The Story of Mink and Miss Pitch: A Traditional Upriver Halkomelem Story     

      Told by Susan Malloway Jimmy

      Brent Galloway

Broke-Her-Nose Woman (or The Stupid Daughter-in-law): A Humorous n<l/>e<?>kepmxcín (Thompson River Salish) Story    

      Told by Mabel Joe

      Mabel Joe and M. Terry Thompson


Three Thompson River Salish Songs from Spuzzum 

      Sung by Annie Z. York

      Andrea Laforet

Modern Poems and a Story-Poem

Growing Old

      Jack Iyall

The Salmon 

      Duane Niatum

To Our Salish Women Who Weave the Seasons

      Duane Niatum

Sleeping Woman   

      Duane Niatum

Journeys to Other Worlds     

The Kidnapping of Moon: An Upper Chehalis Myth  

      Told by Silas Heck

      M. Dale Kinkade

Sun's Child: A Traditional Bella Coola Story     

      Told by Agnes Edgar

      Dell Hymes

Star Husband: Two Brothers' Versions of a Traditional Skokomish (Twana) Story

      Told by Frank Allen and by Henry Allen

      William W. Elmendorf and Steven M. Egesdal

Maiden of Deception Pass: A Traditional Samish Story 

      Told by Victor Underwood Sr.

      Brent Galloway

Kakantu, the Chief's Daughter Who Married a Blackfish: A Traditional Klallam Story 

      Told by Amy Allen, translated by Laurence C. Thompson and Martha Charles John

      Steven M. Egesdal

References and Suggested Further Reading 



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