Sacred Texts  Native American  California 

Maidu Texts

By Roland B. Dixon


The Maidu lived in the central Sierra Nevada of California, to the north of Yosemite. The Maidu, who were not particularly numerous to begin with, were decimated by the incursion of Americans. These texts were collected by a linguist at the beginning of the 20th century.

In these texts Coyote is the central character. He is first seen in the company of Earth-Maker, giving him advice about how to build the world. The Maidu tales of Coyote are well known for being exceptionally transgressive; he is constantly seducing women by guile and deceit. While these stories are very entertaining, they shouldn't be taken to imply that this was normal behavior for Maidu. The trickster figure is an anti-hero, used as a way of defining the limits of the acceptable.

Title Page
Creation Myth.--Part I.
2. Creation Myth.--Part II
3. Coyote's Adventures
4. Coyote And Muskrat
5. Coyote, The Mountain-Tossing People, and the Wind-Man.
6. Thunder-Boy and Lizard-Man
7. Thunder-Boy and Lizard-Man (variant)
8. Thunder and Mosquito, and the Theft of Fire
9. Sun-Man and Frog-Woman
10. The Girls Who Married the Stars
11. Rolling Skull
12. Night-Hawk-Man
13. The Serpent-Lover
14. Bat-Man
15. The Frightener
16. Fisher-Man
17. Mountain-Lion and His Children
18. Mouse-Man