Sacred Texts  Native American  Northwest 

On the River: Edward Curtis 1910; [Public domain image]

Coos Texts

by Leo J. Frachtenberg


This is a short collection of texts from the Coos people of Oregon, collected by anthropologists a century ago. This includes origin myths and lore about what lies beyond the sky and death, tales of people who marry anthropomorphic animals, and legends about natural disasters such as floods and fires. Like other unedited, unfiltered native American texts, they possess earthy humor and a dreamlike, cyclic narrative stucture.

For more information on the culture and history of the Coos, refer to Confederated Tribes of The Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians [External Site].

Title Page

Creation Myths

I. Arrow Young Men (The Creation of the World)
2. The Crow (and the Thunder-Bird)
3. The Ascent to Heaven
4. The Stealing Of Fire And Water
5. The Origin of Death
6. The Flood
7. Origin of the Coos People
8. The Girls and the Stars
9. The Fire-Wind

Miscellaneous Tales

10. The Woman Who Married the Seal
11. Spider-Old-Woman
12. The Giant Woman. (First Version.)
13. The Giant Woman. (Second Version.)
14. The Giant Women. (Third Version.)
15. The Girl and Her Pet
16. The Five Grizzly-Bears
17. The Five Shadows
18. Night-Rainbow and Grizzly Bear
19. The Pelican People

Tales Collected by Harry Hull St. Clair, 2d

20. The Battle in the Air
21. The Long Night
22. The Underground People
23. The Country of the Souls
24. The Revenge of the Sky People
25. The Woman Who Married the Merman
26. The Woman Who Married the Wolf
27. The Woman Who Married the Dog
28. The Woman Who Married the Bear
29. The Women Who Married the Beaver
30. The Woman Who Became a Bear
31. Eagle-Woman
32. The Man Who Married the Bird