Legends, Lore & Symbols

Native American legends and oral stories record tribal histories. Here we have collected legends from over 300 tribes, along with native American tribal prophecies and the meanings of native American symbols in lore and art. Most tribes have legends for their creation and origin stories about where and how they arrived on the surface of planet Earth.

Every aspect of life, death, and existence has its own story to explain why things are the way they are.  Often, different Native American tribes had very similar beliefs, but most tribes have their own unique variations in the details of these legends.

Most native American societies have some sort of trickster figure, who embodies both mischeviousness and foolish acts that teach a valuable lesson, along with acts of bravery and wisdom. In many tribes, the trickster figure is either a coyote or a raven.

Most Native American mythology has some roots in fact.



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Ancient legends give an early warning of modern disasters

The new science of geomythology is being harnessed by researchers who believe folklore can save lives. On the banks of Siletz Bay in Lincoln City, Oregon, officials dedicated a memorial last week to one of America’s worst calamities: a huge earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of Native Americans 300 years ago.

What are the differences between a myth, legend, tale, and oral histories?

Folklorists have commonly attempted to distinguish between native american myths, legends, tales, and oral histories. Sometimes a fine line separarates the distinction. Here are the basic differences.