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March 21, 2002

How the Shoshone and Paiutes became allies (Shoshone – Paiute Legend)

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This Paiute legend tells how the Paiute and Shoshones became allies.

The Coyote, like his brother Wolf, was a spiriual being.

In the beginning Coyote left his home in the Americas and travelled eastwards across the ocean in the direction of the rising sun.

In distant lands Coyote aquired a bride and with her had many children. These children were Indians, the forefathers of the great tribes that were to inhabit the North and South American Continents.

Preparing to return home Coyote put them in a Wosa, a woven willow basket jug with a stopper. Before his journey Coyote was told not to open the wosa until he reached his country in the Rockies and the Great Basin.

Being the sly and curious person he was and on hearing singing and the beating of drums, from within the wosa, Coyote thought it would not hurt to take a peek, when he arrived back on the eastern coast of the American continent.

He opened the wosa. The children inside jumped out and scattered in all directions across North and South America. By the time he got the stopper back on, the only two persons who remained were the Shoshone and Paiute. These he brought home with him.

When Coyote reached the Great Basin, he removed the stopper of the Wosa and out fell the last two children. They at once began to fight.

Coyote kicked them apart and said to them, ” You two are my children. Even though the rest got away, you two will be able to fight against the best and beat them.”

Thus the Shoshone and Paiutes, or as they call themselves, the Newe and Yuma peoples who now live in California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Oregan, began as allies and populated the Great Basin.

Paiute Legends
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