Legend of the Sleeping Ute Mountain http://www.utemountainute.com/legends.htm#Legend
In the very old days, the Sleeping Ute Mountain was a Great Warrior God. He came to help fight against the Evil Ones who were causing much trouble.A tremendous battle between the Great Warrior God and the Evil Ones followed. As they stepped hard upon the earth and braced themselves to fight, their feet pushed the land into mountains and valleys. This is how the country of this region came to be as it is today.The Great Warrior God was hurt, so he lay down to rest and fell into a deep sleep. The blood from his wound turned into living water for all creatures to drink.When the fog or clouds settle over the Sleeping Warrior God, it is a sign that he is changing his blankets for the four seasons.
Legend of the Sleeping Ute Mountain
When the Indians see the light green blanket over their "God", they know it is spring. The dark green blanket is summer, the yellow and red one is fall, and the white one is winter.The Indians believe that when the clouds gather on the highest peak, the Warrior God is pleased with his people and is letting rain clouds slip from his pockets. They also believe that the Great Warrior God will rise again to help them in the fight against their enemies.
The Coyote and the BobcatUte legend: Deseret News Nov. 3 2009
A Long time ago, Bobcat had a long tail and a long nose. One day while Coyote was walking, he caught Bobcat sleeping on the rocks. Coyote then decided to push Bobcat’s nose in and cut off his tail. After he had done that, he went home. At noon, Bobcat woke up. “Oh, what has happened to my nose and my tail? They are no longer long!” Then he thought to himself that it must have been Coyote’s doing. Coyote was taking a nap when Bobcat caught him sleeping. Bobcat thought to himself that he must do to Coyote what Coyote had done him. So he pulled hard on Coyote’s tail and pulled his nose until they became very long, and then he ran away. That is why Coyote now has a long nose and tail, and Bobcat has a short nose and tail.
Why the Willows Are Many ColorsA flathead legend:Deseret News Nov. 3 2009
One day old Coyote was walking along the riverbank. A big wind storm came up, and because it was so strong, it blew Old Coyote along, faster and faster. There were some willows growing along the bank. Old Coyote took hold of the willows. He held on until the wind died down. If the willows had not been there, Old Coyote would have been blown away. Because he was glad, he rewarded the willows and changed them into beautiful colors. And that is why, once every year, the willows change into many colors.
The Sky People (Ute) http://www.utemountainute.com/legends.htm#Legend
Hundreds of years ago, long after the cliff dwellers left their canyon top and cliff dwellings, native people cane from the south into the vast area we call Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. These people, now known as Utes, lives here long before the Spanish explorers arrived with their large expeditions and herds of horses. The Ute families, bands, and encampments were spread out across this large area. Their customs were very similar and all spoke the same language even though they didn't often see each other.The Utes believed that the mountains were put there by Manitou. He was the Great Spirit who lived all alone in the center of the sky.
The Sky People (Ute)
He grew lonesome and wanted to create something new so he made a hole in the sky and swept all the stones and dirt from the sky's floor through the hole.Manitou looked down and saw the great mountains he had made from the dirt and rocks. Some of the dirt became the rolling plains that stretched as far as he could see. He was so pleased with his landscape that he poured down snow and rain to make the earth more beautiful. Manitou created the trees, flowers and finally the Ute Indians to live in this new world.The Utes believe that Manitou had also made all of the animals as well as the birds. It is said he made the birds by taking handfuls of leaves and throwing them in the air. Then the leaves became birds and flew away.But the worst thing of all happened. The animals soon began to fight and kill each other and that made Manitou mad, so he created the strongest animal to rule over all the others to see that they lived in peace. This was the grizzly bear, the king of all beasts.
THE WHITE TRAIL IN THE SKYhttp://www.shoshoneindian.com/legend_002.htm
No one can remember any more exactly how it came about that the black bear Wakini overpowered the strong grey grizzly Wakinu. The black bears say that Wakini was just feeding on the contents of an ant hill when Wakinu came up to him and quite rudely stuck his paw in as well.A great fight ensued, with grey and black hairs flying on every side. Wakini was, of course, in the right, for no animal may ever touch another's prey.Wakinu thus received a just punishment; but that was by no means all - like a defeated warrior, he had to leave his tribe forever.Wakinu wailed and lamented, but the Indian laws are inexorable. And so he had to go, wading through familiar streams, taking a last look at the familiar pines, and saying farewell to the valley he had lived in all of his life.He could not see for tears, and so he failed to notice that he was making straight for the Snow Country. Suddenly he fell into a deep snowdrift. Clambering out with difficulty, he wiped his eyes and took a look round.There was nothing but white, unblemished snow everywhere.
THE WHITE TRAIL IN THE SKY
"I'm sure to find a trail soon," the bear said to himself, and set out on his way once more. His grey coat had turned completely white with the snow, ice, and bitter wind.But Wakinu took no notice of anything and walked on and on, until he reached a strange land in which a deep, frosty night reigned supreme. Somewhere in the far distance the gale could still be heard, yet here there was no but that made by his own footfalls on the frozen snow.Above him glowed the night sky, while not far away, on the very fringe of the Snow Country and the heavens, a broad white trail could be seen ascending the sky.Wakinu ran, hardly touching the ground, mesmerized by that gleaming trail. Another leap, and he found himself in the air, shaking the snow from his coat; light as a feather, he soared up and up.The animals who were awake that night saw, for the first time, a wide white trail in the sky, and on it - a grey bear."Wakinu has found the Bridge of the Dead Souls and is on his way to the Eternal Hunting-grounds," said the wise black bear Wakini.And the grizzly really did go to the Eternal Hunting-grounds. The only thing he left behind was the snow he had shaken from his coat. And that white snow is there in the sky to this day. Just look and see!The pale-faces speak about the Milky Way, but every Indian knows that that is the way to the Eternal Hunting-grounds, the path taken by the grey grizzly Wakinu.
THE WOLF TRICKS THE COYOTE TRICKSTERhttp://www.shoshoneindian.com/legend_001.htm
- The Shoshone people saw the Wolf as a creator God and they respected him greatly. Long ago, Wolf, and many other animals, walked and talked like man. Coyote could talk, too, but the Shoshone people kept far away from him because he was a Trickster, somebody who is always up to no good and out to double-cross you. Coyote resented Wolf because he was respected by the Shoshone. Being a devious Trickster, Coyote decided it was time to teach Wolf a lesson. He would make the Shoshone people dislike Wolf, and he had the perfect plan. Or so he thought. One day, Wolf and Coyote were discussing the people of the land. Wolf claimed that if somebody were to die, he could bring them back to life by shooting an arrow under them. Coyote had heard this boast before and decided to put his plan into action. Wearing his most innocent smile he told Wolf that if he brought everyone back to life, there would soon be no room left on Earth. Once people die, said Coyote, they should remain dead. If Wolf takes my advice, thought Coyote, then the Shoshone people would hate Wolf, once and for all. Wolf was getting tired of Coyote constantly questioning his wisdom and knew he was up to no good, but he didn't say anything. He just nodded wisely and decided it was time to teach Coyote a lesson. A few days after their conversation, Coyote came running to Wolf. Coyote's fur was ruffled and his eyes were wide with panic. Wolf already knew what was wrong: Coyote's son had been bitten by Rattlesnake and no animal can survive the snake's powerful venom. Coyote pleaded with Wolf to bring his son back to life by shooting an arrow under him, as he claimed he could do. Wolf reminded Coyote of his own remark that people should remain dead. He was no longer going to bring people back to life, as Coyote had suggested. The Shoshone people say that was the day Death came to the land and that, as a punishment for his mischievous ways, Coyote's son was the first to die. No one else was ever raised from the dead by Wolf again, and the people came to know sadness when someone dies. Despite Coyote's efforts, however, the Shoshone didn't hate Wolf. Instead, they admired his strength, wisdom and power, and they still do today.
Why the North Star Stands Stillhttp://www.indigenouspeople.net/northsta.htm Pauite
- Long, long ago, when the world was young, the People of the Sky were so restless and travelled so much that they made trails in the heavens. Now, if we watch the sky all through the night, we can see which way they go.
- But one star does not travel. That is the North Star. He cannot travel. He cannot move. When he was on the earth long, long ago, he was known as Na-gah, the mountain sheep, the son of Shinoh. He was brave, daring, sure-footed, and courageous. His father was so proud of him and loved him so much that he put large earrings on the sides of his head and made him look dignified, important, and commanding.
- Every day, Na-gah was climbing, climbing, climbing. He hunted for the roughest and the highest mountains, climbed them, lived among them, and was happy. Once in the very long ago, he found a very high peak. Its sides were steep and smooth, and its sharp peak reached up into the clouds. Na-gah looked up and said, "I wonder what is up there. I will climb to the very highest point."
- Around and around the mountain he travelled, looking for a trail. But he could find no trail. There was nothing but sheer cliffs all the way around. This was the first mountain Na-gah had ever seen that he could not climb.
- He wondered and wondered what he should do. He felt sure that his father would feel ashamed of him if he knew that there was a mountain that his son could not climb. Na-gah determined that he would find a way up to its top. His father would be proud to see him standing on the top of such a peak.
- Again and again he walked around the mountain, stopping now and then to peer up the steep cliff, hoping to see a crevice on which he could find footing. Again and again, he went up as far as he could, but always had to turn around and come down. At last he found a big crack in a rock that went down, not up. Down he went into it and soon found a hole that turned upward. His heart was made glad. Up and up he climbed.
- Soon it became so dark that he could not see, and the cave was full of loose rocks that slipped under his feet and rolled down. Soon he heard a big, fearsome noise coming up through the shaft at the same time the rolling rocks were dashed to pieces at the bottom. In the darkness he slipped often and skinned his knees. His courage and determination began to fail. He had never before seen a place so dark and dangerous. He was afraid, and he was also very tired.
- "I will go back and look again for a better place to climb," he said to himself. "I am not afraid out on the open cliffs, but this dark hole fills me with fear. I'm scared! I want to get out of here!"
- But when Na-gah turned to go down, he found that the rolling rocks had closed the cave below him. He could not get down. He saw only one thing now that he could do: He must go on climbing until he came out somewhere.
- After a long climb, he saw a little light, and he knew that he was coming out of the hole. "Now I am happy," he said aloud. "I am glad that I really came up through that dark hole."
- Looking around him, he became almost breathless, for he found that he was on the top of a very high peak! There was scarcely room for him to turn around, and looking down from this height made him dizzy. He saw great cliffs below him, in every direction, and saw only a small place in which he could move. Nowhere on the outside could he get down, and the cave was closed on the inside..,
- "Here I must stay until I die," he said. "But I have climbed my mountain! I have climbed my mountain at last!
- He ate a little grass and drank a little water that he found in the holes in the rocks. Then he felt better. He was higher than any mountain he could see and he could look down on the earth, far below him.
- About this time, his father was out walking over the sky. He looked everywhere for his son, but could not find him. He called loudly, "Na-gah! Na-gah!" And his son answered him from the top of the highest cliffs. When Shinoh saw him there, he felt sorrowful, to himself, "My brave son can never come down. Always he must stay on the top of the highest mountain. He can travel and climb no more.
- "I will not let my brave son die. I will turn him into a star, and he can stand there and shine where everyone can see him. He shall be a guide mark for all the living things on the earth or in the sky."
- And so Na-gah became a star that every living thing can see. It is the only star that will always be found at the same place. Always he stands still. Directions are set by him. Travellers, looking up at him, can always find their way. He does not move around as the other stars do, and so he is called "the Fixed Star." And because he is in the true north all the time, our people call him Qui-am-i Wintook Poot-see. These words mean "the North Star."
- Besides Na-gah, other mountain sheep are in the sky. They are called "Big Dipper" and "Little Dipper." They too have found the great mountain and have been challenged by it. They have seen Na- gah standing on its top, and they want to go on up to him.
- Shinoh, the father of North Star, turned them into stars, and you may see them in the sky at the foot of the big mountain. Always they are travelling. They go around and around the mountain, seeking the trail that leads upward to Na-gah, who stands on the top. He is still the North Star.