Miwok Legends

Figures frequently featured in Miwok legends and oral stories:

The Creator is the supreme being in Miwok mythology. He is responsible for creating the world and all of its creatures.

The First People are the original inhabitants of the world. They are said to have been created by the Creator and to have lived in harmony with nature.

The Animals are important figures in Miwok mythology. They are often seen as messengers from the spirit world and are sometimes used as teachers or guides.

Coyote is a trickster figure in Miwok mythology. He is often seen as being mischievous and cunning, but he is also seen as being a wise and resourceful teacher.

Raven is a messenger figure in Miwok mythology. He is often seen as being a harbinger of good luck or bad luck.

Bear is a powerful figure in Miwok mythology. He is often seen as being a protector of the forest and its creatures.

Deer is a gentle figure in Miwok mythology. She is often seen as a symbol of beauty and grace.

Eagle is a wise figure in Miwok mythology. He is often seen as a symbol of power and vision.

Snake is a dangerous figure in Miwok mythology. He is often seen as a symbol of death and destruction.

The Giants are a race of beings that are said to have lived in the world before the First People. They are often depicted as being large and powerful, and they are sometimes seen as a threat to the First People.

The Ghosts are the spirits of the dead. They are often seen as being dangerous, and they are sometimes feared by the living.

The Shamans are powerful religious leaders who are able to communicate with the spirit world. They are often seen as being able to heal the sick, predict the future, and control the weather.

Miwok Legends / Oral Stories:

  • The Creation of the World
  • The First People
  • The Flood
  • The Coming of the Animals
  • The Origin of Death
  • The Sun Dance
  • The Ghost Dance
  • The Turtle and the Coyote
  • The Two Brothers
  • The Talking Stick
  • The Boy Who Became a Deer
  • The Girl Who Married the Sun
  • The Man Who Married a Bear
  • The Woman Who Turned into a Stone
  • The Flying Frog
  • The Giant Snake
  • The Water Monster



Article Index:

Guardian of Yosemite

A Miwok Legend: Guardian of Yosemite
as told by S. E. Schlosser

For many nights and many days, the guardian spirit of Tisayac watched over the beautiful valley of Yosemite. Often, the gentle spirit would drift invisibly among the good folk of the valley, and it was during one of these visits that she noticed a tall, proud man named Tutokanula.

He was a strong leader who greatly enhanced the lot of his people, and Tisayac came more often to the valley so that she could watch him. 

How Lizard found fire and saved the people

In the beginning, the different people all spoke different languages, so they were always fighting because they could not understand each other. There was no fire, so they were also very cold and could not speak clearly.

Then one day Lizard climbed to the top of a big hill to lay on top of a rock to sun himself. As he lay there, he looked into the valley below. It was then that he found the fire.