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Legends of the Northern Paiute

as told by Wilson Wewa

Wilson Wewa and James A. Gardner

compiled and edited and with an introduction by James A. Gardner

6 × 9. Glossary. Recommended readings. 216 pages.

2017. ISBN 978-0-87071-900-4. Paperback, $19.95.

ISBN 978-0-87071-901-1. e-book, $11.99.


Legends of the Northern Paiute shares and preserves twenty-one original and previously unpublished Northern Paiute legends, as told by Wilson Wewa, a spiritual leader and oral historian of the Warm Springs Paiute. These legends were first told around the fires of Paiute camps and villages during the storytelling season of winter in the Great Basin of the American West. They were shared with Paiute communities as a way to pass on tribal visions of the animal people and the human people, their origins and values, their spiritual and natural environment, and their culture and daily lives. 


The legends in this volume were recorded, transcribed, reviewed, and edited out loud by Wilson Wewa and James Gardner to respect the creativity, warmth, and flow of traditional Paiute storytelling.

Wewa’s apprenticeship to Northern Paiute culture began when he was about six years old. These legends were passed on to him by his grandmother and other tribal elders. They are now made available to future generations of tribal members, and to students, scholars, and readers interested in Wewa’s fresh and authentic voice. These legends are best read and appreciated as they were told—out loud, shared with others, and delivered with all of the verve, cadence, creativity, and humor of the original Paiute storytellers on those clear, cold winter nights in the high desert.

Member of AAUP